Emerging-Tech Is Making Environmental Problems ‘Visible & Actionable’

In Clean Facts, Clean Talk, Innovations, News, Renewable Energy, Technology

Today, companies are joining forces to use technology to make environmental problems not only visible but actionable.

At the recent Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, 21 companies, including Bloomberg, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Lyft and Salesforce, announced the launch of the Step Up Declaration, a new alliance dedicated to harnessing the power of emerging technologies to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors.

Emerging technology like AI, blockchain, sensors, IoT, and mobile are empowering business leaders to accelerate sustainability.

Environmental Defense Fund* (EDF) surveyed over 500 high-level executives for a benchmark report exploring how emerging technology is driving business sustainability. The results are extremely promising, especially in the tech industry.

EDF’s work with Aclima, the University of Texas at Austin and Google showed that air pollution can be as much as eight times higher on one end of the block than the other.

Now, EDF is working with the city of Houston and connected vehicle technology maker Geotab to deploy “future fleets” across the city and by using telematics technologies it is trying to create maps that pinpoint the exact locations of pollution hotspots.

In addition, a new generation of inexpensive, portable air-quality sensors is making it easier for citizen groups and individuals to monitor the air around them.

Agriculture is one of the last major sectors to experience the digital revolution and it’s a market ripe for growth.

In 2017, tech startups in the agriculture sphere raised $670 million to develop software management, big data analytics, automated equipment and other cutting-edge tools that help farmers grow crops with scientific precision.

Advances in precision agriculture  are leading to better farming and conservation outcomes, and have been especially helpful in tackling fertilizer loss, a particular concern for farmers, as nitrogen fertilizer is one of their biggest expenses. It’s also a major contributor to water pollution and climate change.

Top coders are competing in hackathons to thwart illegal fishing, strengthen human rights protections for fish workers, improve the market power of small-scale fishermen, improve fish species identification, democratize fishing regulations and more.

The potential for blockchain to revolutionize electricity markets holds great promise.

Walmart is working with IBM to use blockchain to track every bag of spinach and head of lettuce across its massive supply chain to pinpoint and eradicate food contaminants. The upside for the environment is less food waste. For business? Increased supply chain efficiencies. For consumers? Improved food safety.

Tech innovations empower business leaders to balance profitable growth with environmental stewardship. This is no longer an either/or scenario; we need both.

 

 

 

 

Reference- Tom Murray (VP, EDF+Business), Cleantechnica, NewYork Times, EDF website

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