SDG 13: fighting and adapting to climate change
During COP27, news came out that the amount of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased with 1.0% in 2022. The scenario of staying below a 1.5˚C temperature increase becomes harder and harder, unless serious action is taken.
SDG 13 of the UN urges us to "take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact". Each specialty of climate tech has its own approach to tackle it, ranging from carbon removal and storage to developing plant-based alternatives for our daily menu. In this blog post, we look at examples of technology that can help to create more awareness and adapt to the circumstances.
Measurement and reporting
It's hard to make improvements if you don't know where you need to improve. Carbon accounting companies are sprouting up across the globe, and the sector of climate management and reporting has been growing in 2021 and 2022.
Carbon management of companies usually goes as follows:
- Measure and report carbon footprint: with the help of carbon accounting, the CO2 emissions of the whole supply chain are categorized in 3 scopes
- Plan and manage abatement strategies: once the sources of the emissions are identified, companies consider how they can reduce the emissions
- Carbon offsetting: if the company was not able to avoid all their emissions, they can buy carbon credits to compensate the rest of their emissions
Carbon credits are measurable and verifiable emissions reductions from certified climate action projects. These projects aim to remove or avoid GHG emissions in the atmosphere and range from nature-based (reforestation) to technology-based (carbon removal, renewable energy). In exchange for a payment to the climate project, the emitter receives carbon credits. If the amount of credits matches their total carbon emissions, companies become "carbon-neutral".
Despite its popularity, carbon offsetting doesn't come without problems: there is the risk of double-counting, where 2 parties (the one who offset their emissions and the one who is performing the initiative on account of the other) count the reductions in their books. Some advocate therefore for carbon insetting, which directly tackles the carbon emissions of scope 3 in the supply chain and avoids them to be emitted from the beginning.
Adaptation and monitoring technologies
We are already noticing the effects of climate change. Mitigation technologies are necessary, but we should not forget the climate adaptation tools as well. VCs are therefore expressing increased interest in more adaptation solutions to cope with current and future heat waves, floods, wildfires, melting glaciers, and so on. Adaptation technologies could also make use of the opportunities caused by climate change, such as longer growing seasons.
Possible applications are:
- Wildfire detection and disaster response
- Flood warnings
- Climate risk analytics
- Weather forecasting (for extreme weather events)
- Water desalination, purification, and recycling
- Air quality and pollution warnings
- Insurance tools
These technologies make use of sensors, satellite data, machine learning, and AI to map the environment, classify events, or predict the course of events. On the long run, these climate adaptation technologies will return their investments: an $1.8 trillion investment could in a few years generate $7.1 trillion thanks to the evaded damage costs and the environmental and social benefits.
Education and community
Climate change is a collective problem and requires collective action. For this to happen, people need to get educated and get in touch with other ideas. Only then, it is possible to understand what needs to be done and to change behavior and attitudes.
Technology has made sharing information and connecting with like-minded people and organizations a lot easier, thanks to climate and community and communication platforms. Job platforms with climate tech jobs gather opportunities in the new industries, often also referring to educational programs and jobseeker networks. For example, on Climate Tech Careers, you can find a collection of communities, programs, job boards, and educational sources.
There is an abundance of climate change data. Online education platforms provide access to this data to everyone with an internet connection. With the help of AI and AR, climate visualization and simulation tools give an impression of what will happen when the temperature rises above 1.5˚C. An example: the project This climate does not exist shows with the help of AI how a place would look like after a flood, wildfire, or with extreme smog levels. You not only have the possibility to type in your own hometown, but also to share the images afterward.
What is your idea to fight climate change?
It's a big undertaking that will need an effort from everyone. We need to change our behavior, and these technologies help to spread the knowledge required to adopt these behavioral changes. The technologies above were just a few examples, but many more are possible. Noldev develops custom software for projects in the climate tech area. So if you have an idea for a solution for climate change, we would love to contribute and help you make it happen. Because if you succeed, we all succeed.