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Technology and the climate crisis in the lead up to COP26

Technology and the climate crisis in the lead up to COP26 

Whilst some might say that the biggest event of 2021 was the UEFA Euros, Donald Trump being kicked out of office or ‘Freedom Day’, the most influential of events is still yet to come.  

From 31st October to 12th November, COP26 will take to the city of Glasgow. The Conference of the Parties (COP) summit will be the 26th of its kind, and the most crucial one yet. Postponed by one year because of the pandemic, the conference has a lot to catch up on.  

Focusing on goals outlined by the 2015 Paris Agreement, alongside a green recovery from the pandemic and net-zero ambitions, COP26 is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking summit that holds the future of our world in its hands.  

As we plummet towards climate breakdown, the way we act has never been more important, every move acting as a pendulum between recovery or destruction. Technology is now a core element in paving the way for a carbon-neutral future. EV is fighting to give climate-tech businesses a platform to direct our world towards a restorative path and give power back to nature.  

We’ll be looking at what some of the problems are and the role ‘climate tech’ is playing in alleviating environmental issues.   

Unfulfilled targets 

There are 4 core objectives for COP26 as outlined by the UN. They are:  

  • Secure global net-zero by 2050 and keep the temperature of the planet under control – no more than a 1.5-degree increase from pre-industrial levels. 
  • Adapt to protect and restore ecosystems and protect the countries most affected. 
  • Countries must mobilise finance, at least $100 billion, in climate finance. 
  • Work together to accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis.  

At COP26, governments will be under pressure to prove they are acknowledging the intensity of the situation the planet is in and acting on targets laid out in the Paris Agreement. 

But at the beginning of this year, UN Climate Change published a report explaining that governments were not on track to achieve targets. Seven months later, it seems this is still the case. 

What’s not going right? 

The problem seems to be that countries’ pledges, known as nationally determined contributions (NDC’s), are not ambitious enough. The article on the report stated, “Climate science has made it clear that a deep transformation is needed to achieve the climate goals, and that such transformation must start early and result in deep emission reductions even before 2030”. 

This lack of noticeable change isn’t new since climate change has been the next ‘hot issue’ on the agenda since the ‘80s. Responding to climate change, ideally, requires the kind of drastic action we saw taken during the pandemic.  

It’s not all or nothing, though. We all need to play our part to see a positive transformation happen.  

Ways that tech is helping: big and small ideas 

‘Climate tech’ is a sector that has been around since the early 2000s, innovating solutions that aim to decarbonise the planet. However, progress in the industry has been historically slow.   

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in these technologies is resurging, paving the way for a future that desperately needs saving. Below are some strategies and companies that use technology to mitigate the problems surrounding the climate crisis.  

Carbon capture 

An increasing number of start-up businesses are striving to deploy carbon capture technologies. There are various ways in which this can – or theoretically can – be done, but essentially it entails using a device to remove carbon from the air and store it or reuse it by converting it into something more beneficial.  

A Swedish start-up called Liquid Wind is creating methanol from captured CO2, using this resource for the shipping industry. A Canadian firm, Carbon Engineering, is using hydroxide solutions to absorb atmospheric CO2. A Swiss start-up called Climeworks is also using direct air capture technology in an attempt to reverse climate change.  

These are just a few businesses that are investing money and research into carbon capture technology. The increase of these initiatives is promising, but it’s still ambiguous as to whether these technologies will be a sustainable solution.  

Other businesses fighting for sustainability 

It’s not just the carbon dioxide levels in the air that companies are using technology to tackle. Below are a few SMEs leveraging tech innovation, and excellent ideas, to manage and mitigate environmental issues.  

4EI 

4EI is a company that specialises in Earth intelligence. Using space data, such as satellite imagery, 4EI are helping to combat a variety of environmental obstacles. Their data can be used by businesses and organisations to promote sustainable ways of operating.  

Offering insights and solutions for issues including heat hazards, soil health and environmental impact assessments, 4EI are not just monitoring environments, but aiding restoration and sustainable planning for the planet.  

Riskaware 

Riskaware specialises in incident modelling for a variety of domains. They work with governments and organisations to respond to threats and protect environments and populations across the globe.  

Riskaware’s technology solutions are designed to help people and animals. The strategic modelling used in its MarineAware platform, for example, helps to prevent the extinction of certain ecosystems. Riskaware’s work contributes to helping sustain sea life, wildlife in rivers and human life.  

Ecosulis  

Ecosulis is a global rewilding enterprise, using technology to drive nature restoration. Using UAV drones, biodiversity calculator tools, blockchain technologies and habitat mapping metric tools – amongst other things – Ecosulis are continuously finding innovative ways to use technology and their wealth of ecological expertise to benefit the planet. 

Gardin 

Food production is a field that is both contributing to climate change – extensive meat farming – and being massively affected by climate change. Gardin is using technology to monitor plant health versus plant growth. Its goal is to create more sustainable agriculture and food production for now and the future.  

Measurable.energy 

Measurable.energy (m.e) uses machine learning and energy management software to eliminate energy waste. Through the use of technology, m.e help building owners manage energy consumption to reduce environmental impact. They also contribute to their cause by running on carbon-neutral servers.  

Renewable energy innovations 

We are seeing an increasing number of renewable energy technologies enter the market. Whilst wind and solar continue to thrive, with the two expected to match gas capacity by 2022, other ideas are emerging that continue to provide hope for a greener future. 

Renewable offshore floating wind energy solutions are being trialled, especially so by SMEs. This kind of energy offers even more scope for energy demands, delivering a vast amount of power across populations that is predictable and sustainable.  

You can find some of the COPs specially selected businesses using Tech for Our Planet, here. Some of the COPs favourite start-ups will have the opportunity to present their environmentally oriented solutions at COP26 on the international stage.  

How much can we rely on technology?  

The advancements we are seeing in technology is encouraging, using inventive methods to manage some of the threats we currently face.  

Having technology to turn to during various environmental crises provides some solace, giving us somewhat of a lifeline. However, how much can we rely on technology to mitigate climate change?  

Innovations from organisations, SMEs and countries all over the world is admirable and will, hopefully, continue to flourish, but we must combine these technological innovations with further action. Alone, they won’t suffice.  

EV and climate tech  

Tech for good is what matters to us at EV. As a digital marketing agency, we use our powers for good. We elevate businesses whose ambitions are centred around helping the planet and the people on it.  

We don’t just say we care about climate change; we actually do. The environmental issues we face today are important and deserve a space in the spotlight in order for change to happen. That’s why we work with the clients we do, including 4EI, Ecosulis and Riskaware; to make a positive impact.  

In the run-up to COP26, some things aren’t looking too good. However, that doesn’t mean hope is lost. We are remaining optimistic about the changes the aftermath of this conference will bring. If you want to work with us to be the change, then get in touch today. Our world needs us!  

If you’re a tech for good company looking to make a radically positive impact, get in touch with and we’ll show you how we can help.

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