Technology — more specifically, energy technology — is fundamental to tackle climate change. We live in a world where there are colossal amounts of energy wasted at every level (production, distribution, consumption). Leading in energy waste worldwide, the US wastes more than 61% of the energy produced in the country because of the way its economical system works.
If technology is an answer to many environmental problems, why isn’t anything changing?
Nowadays, most of the energy we consume is produced by extracting fossil fuels like coal, petrol, gas, oil sands, more than 80% in developed countries. Neglecting the existence of hundreds of different ways to produce sustainable energy, the economic-driven system we live in makes the transition to sustainability very slow and complex. If technology could solve the environmental problems we face today in a blink of an eye, it would have happened already.
-explained Edward A. Parson, the faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Parson compares the struggle of shifting towards cleaner energies with the steering of a tanker: many calculations need to be made and many switches need to be flipped to steer towards the appropriate direction. Even though solar energy has successfully become cheap thanks to the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Parson believes it will still take decades to implement that technology around the world.
“A lot of what has to happen to change the energy system isn’t discovering the brilliant new breakthrough technology that’s going to make it all better. It’s rolling new, better technologies out through the whole system and getting them deployed and used.” Parson continues
Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).
10% of all the food wasted is used to produce energy
Researchers from the University of Florida explain that food-waste has the potential to produce colossal amounts of energy while reducing gas emissions and therefore climate change: « The amount of biogas that can be generated from food waste is dependent on moisture content and composition. Food waste with a low moisture content will generate more biogas than food waste with a high moisture content. Fats and proteins also generate more biogas than carbohydrates.
Here are some examples of the many solutions that help reducing energy waste:
Smart Homes, high-tech light bulbs, ePlug, reflective roofing, organic batteries, hemp biodegradable plastics, mobile waste-saving apps like Oroeco, PaperKarma, Eatizz, and many more.
Here is an interview where tech-entrepreneur Bill Gates gives his opinion about environmental technologies and how energy can be spared in the future: