Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Technology as a contributor to Climate Change

Global Warming as defined by Microsoft Encarta is a term denoting the accelerated warming of the Earth’s surface due to anthropogenic (human activity-related) releases of greenhouse gases due to industrial activity and deforestation. As stated human activities holds a lot of account when dealing with the rapid warming of the Earth. Global Warming or climate change is already happening and represents one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing the planet. There are many governmental organizations that are committed to working constructively for a global agreement to control climate change, and is leading the way by taking ambitious action of its own.
The warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level. The Earth's average surface temperature has risen by 0.76° C since 1850. Most of the warming that has occurred over the last 50 years is very likely to have been caused by human activities.
Climate change is a global issue that will affect all of us. If we work together and take immediate action we can stop dangerous climate change. Industrialised countries need to reduce greenhouse pollution by 20% by 2020, and by 80% by the middle of the century, if we are to combat climate change. Global warming is a topic on many people's minds right now. From elementary school students to advanced researchers, politicians to business leaders, questions abound regarding what global warming is (or is not), why it is happening (or is not), and what can and should be done about it.

Climate change is due to the warming of the earth but necessarily means as the greenhouse effect. As described Greenhouse Effect is a good thing for life on Earth. The problem arises because humankind is adding to the effect by increasing the amounts of CO2 and a few other gases in the atmosphere, notably methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). This results in the enhanced greenhouse effect, or “global warming”. Global warming is being defined as a severe emission of gasses that affects or contributes to the heating or radiation inside the atmosphere of the Earth. As the technology is being develop throughout the entire world, more and more people as well as industries have things that contributed to Global Warming. Carbon Dioxide is among the greatest gasses that constitute to the warming that leads to a dangerous climate change in the near future. Most industries includes many processes that includes the burning of elements and chemicals that emits carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The fact that they come from economic activities that are so pervasive to human society largely explains why global warming control is so complicated and so controversial. CO2 is emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, so that most electricity production and most industrial activity contribute to global warming. Thus, all of the industry as well as household that have electricity would still contribute to the immense warming of the world. Still seeing the reality of how technology develops even in a very short period of time, many industry would rise as well as many would soon develop in one or another form. Human activities that contribute to climate change include in particular the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and land-use changes like deforestation. These cause emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main gas responsible for climate change, as well as of other 'greenhouse' gases. To bring climate change to a halt, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced significantly. These will demand massive amount of electricity as well as many industrial raw materials to be able to create products that is of demand by the company. Many people would also be into these technology change since it is the trend. Industries would require electricity, a lot of establishments and great effort from man power. If man power is to be taken out and be replaced by mechanical means, thus electricity would still be needed to run this kind of machines. Since gasoline, kerosene, and diesel are fossil fuels, they too contribute, which means that the entire transport sector is implicated. These facts means that all the development n the transportation aspect would also lead to the warming of the earth. From the simple creation and establishments of cars to the high technology means of transportation, this would be contributors to the climate change. Transportation again, is one of the favorite field in which technology is very much fond of innovation. Considering the vast number of transportation vehicles in the world, it is very much expected that global warming if not prevent would create a massive effect in the world. Not just the industry of business but as individuals as well. Methane is also emitted from fossil fuel burning, but also from gas pipeline leaks and from decomposing vegetation. Methane emissions are therefore associated with livestock and with rice growing. Nitrous oxide comes from fossil burning and fertilizers. The burning of forests also contributes significantly to CO2 emissions.

Technology is being seen to bind the world in the most swift range of time. And as expected, technology is always bound to its electrical needs. Seeing these problems, individuals should be aware that everyone is responsible to this kind of phenomena. Every person contribute to this problem, every action that somehow corrupt the naturally processes in the world could contribute to the global warming and leading to the horrifying effect of climate change. Given these facts and having my position as an It individual, it is to my understanding that there are things that I could suggest to somehow have an action that would serve as a response to the global warming problem of almost all of the people. It doesn’t mean that since it is a global problem, only the people in the higher position could act and must be responsible in having appropriate actions but instead all must be in cooperation to ensure the success of every action being planned. If a certain individual would be first to be doing some actions, it would still me pointless if others would not follow and still continue to be in practice that contribute to the emission of these gasses. The steps that i would follow and introduce to the public would be the following:

1. Awareness of Global Warming through the use Technology
Any actions that would not be properly promoted or being announced would be pointless. If there is any advocacy that should be taken by all, it must start by knowing what is it all about and what it have that should be taken seriously. Critical assessments should be discussed not by professional but by all people from the lowest status in the society to the powerful individuals. There should be enough presentation of how global arming could cause a very severe destruction of the earth if not be prevented and minimized. People must see the factual figures of the current events of how the earth behaves and how it is expected to be in the upcoming years. Showing of simulated effects should be manifested in the population to be viewed seriously. All possible effects and events should be shown if any mean practices is still being continued knowing that if still persisted known terrible effects would not just be a envision of the future but would be seeing there own self inside of that world. People should also be conscious of the grounds that they are leaving, the Earth is not just a place that could be harmed and mistreated after all the resources is being used up. The earth is a place that should be kept healthy and beautiful no matter what technology is being developed for the years to come.
Putting my knowledge in this kind of situation, I would head a team that are putting there concern in having action in the protection of the planet. There would be strategic planning to be able to have a concrete structure of how things should be taken into actions. Presentation should also be catchy, all images should be added to have a greater impact in the public. IT people should start in the environment to which they are living in. It is where they should start. Spreading by mouth. And of course using the most effective way of exchanging information, the Internet. There are many ways to which internet should be put into action. Having forums to discuss it, and making professors to pass the information to their respective students, and the most popular is by blogging. Any new information or concerns would be in blogs and thus be propagated more effectively for those people who doesn’t have any knowledge about it.

2. Know what contributes to the Global warming and act accordingly
The main element that contribute to the global warming is undeniably the emission of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. Thus, actions that should be taken should also be in line with the reduction of emission of this gas in the atmosphere. Here are some actions that should be taken to lower and minimized the release of carbon dioxide in the air.

Car related carbon emissions
  • Take public transport, bike or walk whenever possible. It saves carbon emissions and money.

  • Choose a less polluting car – a fuel-efficient car can save up to 20 tonnes of greenhouse gas and up to $10.000 on fuel over its lifetime. New diesel cars are generally more efficient than petrol.

  • Drive cars efficiently: Drive smoothly and avoid start-stop traffic

  • Ensure tyres are pumped up to maximum pressure so that they run smoothly

  • Remove unnecessary weight from your car as well as unused roof racks and other features which create more air drag

  • Carpool whenever possible

  • Get your air conditioner checked regularly for leaks and keep the filters clean. Use it only when absolutely necessary.

  • Offset the carbon emissions from your car

Carbon emissions from water heating
  • Buy a solar or gas energy efficient water heater – look for environmentally friendly labels

  • Take shorter showers and avoid using baths

  • Avoid rinsing dishes under running hot water

  • Avoid using small amounts of hot water when cold water will do (e.g. to wash your hands) – it saves the carbon emissions needed to heat the cold water in the pipes

  • Switch off your hot water system when you’re going away for a few days

  • Fix dripping taps

  • Ensure exposed hot water pipes are well insulated

Carbon emissions from electricity & appliances
  • Switch appliances off at the power point

  • Switch to low Watt TV’s and switch them off when you are not watching

  • Switch computers and equipment off when they are not in use. Also, adjusting a computer screen’s brightness lower can cut greenhouse emissions by a quarter.

  • Choose energy efficient models when buying new equipment. Get rid of old, polluting equipment (e.g. leaking fridges and inefficient washing machines)

  • There is no need to rinse dishes under hot water before putting them into the dishwasher. This can actually use more hot water that the dishwasher itself!

  • Wash clothes in cold water when possible

  • Avoid running washing machines and dishwashers only half-filled

  • Use gas and microwave cooking rather than electrical cooking. It produces only 30-50% of the greenhouse gases produced by ordinary electric plates.

  • Try cooking larger amounts to freeze and re-heat in the microwave.

  • Install energy-efficient lighting indoors and outdoors. We provide energy efficient light bulb installations, including downlights, for a discounted price.

  • Switch to green power. It is not more expensive than a non-green power plan and reduces your footprint drastically.

Other means:
  • Cut general product consumption of those products which generate a lot of greenhouse gases such as water, metal, paper, glass and plastic.

  • Minimise and recycle waste. Take a bag when you go shopping rather than bringing home new plastic bags.

  • If you have a garden, you could set up a worm farm – it saves carbon emissions and produces excellent fertilizer

  • Buy local, organic products

  • Plan your holidays close to home

  • Insulate your house to reduce the heating and cooling energy loads required
3. Using Technology to solve what harm it brought

Technology must not be seen as the main reason to which the planet is experiencing this phenomena, because as technology is concerned it also have many plans to be acted upon the problem of the people. Not by taking out the industry but by alternatives that would minimize it. Developed and developing countries are equally anxious to avoid the sort of cut-backs, or restrictive energy policies, which would undermine their industrial growth or competitiveness. What everyone wants are solutions which are not only good for the planet, but also good for business and good for development. Technological innovation is seen as the best hope of delivering this triple whammy.

Technological solutions are needed for the challenges of both mitigation and adaptation, as they are referred to in climate change terminology. Mitigation is about slowing down global warming by reducing the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Among the many mitigation technologies already on – or nearing – the market are renewable energy sources, such as biofuels, biomass, wind, solar and hydro power; low carbon building materials; and emerging technologies which aim to capture carbon out of the atmosphere and lock it away.

Adaptation involves dealing with the existing or anticipated effects of climate change, particularly in the developing, least developed and small island countries, which are most severely affected. In addition to “soft” technologies, such as crop rotation, hard technologies for adaptation include improved irrigation techniques to cope with drought, and new plant varieties which are resistant to drought or to salt water.

The uptake of mitigation technologies has accelerated in recent years, encouraged by proactive government policies. Yet it is not enough for environmentally minded consumers around the world to install solar panels on their homes and trade in their gas-guzzlers for hybrid cars. The impact and effectiveness of technological solutions depend on their being deployed on a global scale. The International Energy Agency estimates that, by 2020, 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions will come from economies in transition and developing countries, underlining that these countries will need to “leapfrog a technological generation or two” if they are to avoid the fossil-fuel trap and move directly to environmentally-sound technologies.

Here are technology to which the emission of harmful gasses be lessen:

a. Adoption of Renewables

Being out of Fossil Fuel use and switching to renewable energy.

Wind Power

energy present in a moving mass of air (wind), harnessed and converted into a useful form of power, usually electricity.

As with all renewable energy sources (except tidal and geothermal), the energy in the wind comes from the Sun. One or two per cent of the energy absorbed by the Earth from the Sun is converted into wind via the mechanisms of convection and Coriolis forces. There are extensive sites around the world where the prevailing wind conditions could provide significant wind energy.

Solar Thermal:

Solar thermal power -- which uses solar energy to drive turbines. Solar thermal power plants can store energy to produce electricity at night, they can be installed in place of new coal power plants.

Geothermal Power:

energy extracted from the heat generated by natural concentrations of hot water and steam in the Earth’s interior, for use in electric power generation and direct heat applications such as space heating and industrial drying processes. Geothermics is the science pertaining to these sources of geothermal energy, and in particular their location. Heat is produced within the crust and upper mantle of the Earth primarily by the decay of radioactive elements. This geothermal energy is transferred to the Earth's surface by conduction and convection, aided by the movement of magma (molten rock) and deep-lying circulating water. Surface hydrothermal manifestations include hot springs, geysers, and fumaroles. Hot springs have been used since ancient times for therapy and for recreational purposes. Early Norse settlers in Iceland took water from nearby hot springs into their shelters by means of wooden conduits.

b. Enhance Energy Efficiency

Using technology all by it self would not create a very great impact at all if we are not aware of how we contribute to the warming of the globe. Solving global warming isn't only about installing majestic wind turbines and glistening solar energy systems in the desert. One of the cheapest, most effective, and safest ways to reduce global warming pollution is to increase our energy efficiency. In fact, by using energy efficiency technologies and today's know-how, we could cut our global warming pollution by a third.

The facts below is from a study from the US of which CO2 is being emitted:

Cutting fuel costs on the road: CO2 emissions from cars and trucks account for about one-third of all energy-related global warming pollution in the United States. Cars bought in the United States last year averaged only 20 miles per gallon (mpg), which is less than half the gas mileage available on the most efficient cars today and about the same as a 1908 Model T. We can do better than a car introduced 100 years ago. With American innovation and technology, we can offer all cars with much better fuel economy and the same level of safety and features we expect. And the opportunities are not just available for cars: heavy-duty trucks, which transport about 60% of the goods we buy and use 39 billion gallons of fuel every year, can also become more efficient. Effective gas mileage standards and support for innovative technologies will keep our transportation system moving while greatly decreasing our environmental impact.

4. Integrating All the steps through the use of IT

These steps would all be useless if not being send to all people. Leaving other people not knowing the current events of the world. Being an IT, groups in the virtual community should feel responsible and act together to resolve the problems. Even the simple presentation of what global warming could do would create an impact to the world. Because, people would start applying there knowledge in their own household and people would slowly but effectively know its effects. People should be aware that electrical generated appliances should be minimized and applying e-environment. There are also ways to which the government and other organization acts, saying that IT can play an active and valuable role in helping reduce carbon emissions, for example, through the development of technical standards that lower the power requirements of ICT equipment and services, and through helping pioneer new technologies that help reduce the carbon footprint of other industries, such as the automotive sector.

All people, not just the IT knowledgeable are responsible for spreading the information to the world but instead all of us. Let us act upon the call of the nature and don’t wait for it to respond harshly back to us.





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