Just a couple of weeks ago, over 170 countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement. The deal calls for each nation to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce global warming. As the world continues to heat up at an exponential rate, it is crucial that initiatives are taken immediately to put raising temperatures to a halt, and the Paris Climate Agreement was a huge step in the right direction for change.
However, a recent study released by Climate Interactive and MIT stated that the current commitments in the Paris Climate Agreement are not strong enough to change the temperatures, resulting in an increased warming of the earth to 3.5°C. This is 1.5°C above the goal of limiting the temperature increase to above 2°C.
Every year, Bill and Melinda Gates write an open letter pondering the opportunities that would make a difference in the world. This year, they decided to write about the effects of climate change on civilians and the initiatives they plans to take.
When looking at what the countries have done thus far in regards to climate change, substantial efforts have already been taken. For example, the US passed the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit, allowing for “financial support for the development of renewable energy facilities.” However, this is only an incentive. As technology continues to advance faster than we can blink, it is important to use this rapid evolvement to our advantage– especially during the time crunch that climate change has brought upon us.
The focus today should not be on creating more incentives in hopes that companies adopt these offerings, but instead to actually create technological innovations that will directly enhance the energy sector. Increasing the energy research & development budget will allow for more advances in the industry, with the goal in mind of using this discovery to get one step closer in stopping climate change. This is the advice given by the Gates Foundation, as the organization plans to invest in breakthrough energy companies in the upcoming years.
Technology, if used in its most strategic and powerful way, can stop climate change. Breakthrough innovations can help to create alternatives to burning fossil fuels– the main problem causing climate change, whereas 80% of energy consumption around the world comes from these dangerous materials. Tech can also assist in neutralizing the damage that has already been done from these harmful energy sources by creating more viable technologies, such as more efficient solar power and wind power machinery.
The fight to a healthier, cleaner world is not over. Technology can, is, and will continue to be the driving force behind a safer global climate. If everyone steps front in this collective action problem and begins to make tiny changes to their everyday lives by adopting these new breakthrough technologies, this will largely impact the way we see our world today.