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The Interconnection of Technology and Climate Change Mitigation Solutions

According to the United Nations General Assembly, we have until 2030 to cut down greenhouse gases to reverse climate change and stabilize greenhouse gas levels emitted by human actions through the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat, or transport. The goal of the mitigation is to avoid significant interference with the climate system in a timeframe sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner. Enhancing the "sinks" that accumulate and store these gases (such as the oceans, forests, and soil) isn't enough anymore. This highlights the importance of adoption of innovative climate change mitigation solutions to current and future climate change related problems.

Over the past decades, with industrialization technology has quickly become a part of our lives, we use it for almost everything! Most people cannot live without technologies like televisions, mobile phones, computers and many more, similarly businesses, companies, and organizations depend on technology for communication, efficiency of operations, security etc. Mitigation of carbon emissions do not differ.

Unlike adaptation technologies, mitigation technologies already exist, are being implemented but are often unfamiliar. Some of the more familiar methods of climate change mitigation with technology include:

  • Dematerialization by replacing physical goods, processes, or travel with 'virtual' alternatives, such as videoconferencing or e-commerce (online shopping).

  • Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, which enables a large share of GHG emission savings by means of process optimization. These include for example smart grids, smart logistics, smart buildings, or smart motor systems.

  • Systemic impacts, i.e. behavioral effects such as new habits and consumption patterns that humans develop because of technology use. This is an important area of intervention since consumers control or at least influence 60 percent of all GHG emissions (through their own consumption and use consumers directly control 35 percent of these emissions). Thus, consumer targeted carbon reduction measures can result in significant reductions in global GHG emissions.

  • In more developing nations in Africa, which solely depend on agriculture for its socio-economic development. Low productivity compounded with the effects of climate change on the agricultural process and the lack of technical expertise in the region has invited the imperative need to adopt new technologies and provide smart agricultural solutions such as regularly clustered interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9), synthetic biology, and genomic selection, amongst others.

  • Genomic Selection: The introduction of second- and third-generation sequencing platforms means that breeders can afford to use DNA markers to assist selections. This has facilitated gene discovery, trait dissection and predictive breeding technology. Over two decades ago, molecular marker technology was predicted to be a significant tool that would reform breeding programs and facilitate swift gains from selection. Currently, however, it appears marker-assisted selection (MAS) has failed to significantly improve polygenic traits. While MAS has been effective for the manipulation of large effect alleles with known association to a marker, it has been a bottleneck when many alleles of small effect segregate and no substantial, reliable effects can be identified.

  • Synthetic Biology: Synthetic biology involves the application of engineering principles and advances in molecular, cell, and systems biology to describe and understand/recreate core biological processes. For instance, one focus of synthetic biology is the design and construction of core bio components, from enzymes to genetic circuits and metabolic pathways that can be modelled, understood and tuned to fulfil a specific role. The assembly of these smaller parts and devices into larger integrated systems can be used to solve specific problems such as the optimization of nitrogen fixation or CO2 sequestration by plants and microorganisms.

  • Renewable energy: Energy is a prerequisite in our regular daily existence as a method of improving human development prompting financial development and efficiency. The re-visitation of renewables will help relieve environmental change in an amazing way however should be supportable to guarantee an economical future and grant people in the future to meet their energy needs. Sustainable power sources are fuel sources from characteristic and constant progression of energy occurring in our nearby climate. They include: bioenergy, direct solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, wind and ocean energy (tide and wave).

Arguably, some believe technology won't save us from climate change as it is deemed a comfortable thought-path for managers and investors and isn't fully treatable by technology advances with nuclear power being too expensive and risky; meanwhile, solar and wind power both suffer from intermittency.




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