Climate “change” has now become a climate “crisis” and without swift action, it’ll soon be a catastrophe. Few can ignore the disastrous impact of greenhouse emissions, plastic waste and global warming. Even the best-case scenarios now predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) require aggressive action on global carbon emissions. Current levels must fall by 40-70 per cent to slow global warming.
How the IoT helps
That’s where the Internet of Things (IoT) can help. Through the IoT, there could be a 3 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, due to increased efficiency and eliminating our reliance on disposable materials. Ericsson Research’s smart grid is predicted to cut emissions by almost 4 per cent by 2030. This IoT-powered energy supply network can detect and adjust to local changes in energy use. One part of this grid is becoming more common in the UK. – smart electricity meters. The UK Government wants all homes to have a smart energy meter by 2020.
Better carbon monitoring
IoT sensors can also assist Governments in carbon monitoring and taxation. The UN Climate Action Sustainable Innovation Forum estimated that only 15 per cent of emissions are priced and taxed today. Tamper-resistant IoT devices that measure air quality and other environmental metrics can provide more consistent, real-time monitoring of potential pollution. This will help Governments enforce standards to promote climate change efforts.
Smart agriculture and forestry
Then there’s smart agriculture, which could lead to another 3 per cent reduction. Better livestock monitoring can quickly identify ailing animals based on their movements and behaviour. Screening such livestock can improve meat and dairy yields, reducing over-treatment with antibiotics and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from unfit cows.
Protecting our forests and biodiversity will be another benefit. One U.S. start-up, the Rainforest Connection, is already experimenting with connected devices. It transforms recycled phones into solar-powered listening devices attached to trees, to detect illegal logging activities, preventing deforestation in the Amazon and Kalimantan region in Indonesia.
Monitoring on a city and home-wide scale
Indeed, connected devices will change how we relate to the environment around us, including the built environment in cities.Almost 70 per cent of us will live in a city by 2050. Thanks to the rise of smart cities, we can understand society’s movements, energy usage and waste on a granular scale. Using these insights, companies can respond to energy demand and downturns and plan more environmentally friendly waste strategies. Local Government can plan roads according to traffic movements, to encourage walking and cycling, and to reduce the time drivers spend on the road.
On a smart home level, IoT devices can reduce the amount of energy wasted through devices left switched on. Apps can turn off the lights if someone forgets to, or predict residents’ needs and only use energy when required.
Climate change becomes intelligent
The climate crisis is everyone’s problem, but luckily, there’s a solution at hand. Through a well-planned and considered approach using the IoT, the current rate of emissions can be cut. The IoT can play a big part in reaching the IPCC’s goals to cut carbon emissions, so when it comes to tackling climate change, it’s time to get smart.
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