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We have the tech to reduce CO2 emissions, why are we not using it?

One of the biggest obstacles in fighting climate change is the lack of tech to reduce carbon emissions on a large scale, right? That have been the focus in several climate debates and it is quite clear that we lack viable and economical options to make industry cleaner. Or is that really so?

Eleven of the worlds largest engineer organizations beg to differ, and aren’t afraid to do so. According to these organizations there are lots of tech solutions in energy, mechanical and several other sectors. These organizations mean that there is no lack of ideas and development but there is a great need for funding, new legislation and action from the politicians. The development is simply too slow without the right incitements towards a sustainable economy. They may actually be right on that one.

This is the bad guy! Go get 'em engineers!

This years environmental conference will be held in Durban, South Africa. The conference in Cancun last year saw a lot of locked horns, stalling and random disagreements but did actually come up with some good ideas and plans. It did lack a real commitment to carbon reductions though, something which was sorely needed. This year will most likely see more of the same. Although that isn’t the most optimistic outlook, it is probably a realistic one.

However it is important that the industry and engineering organizations are clear with the fact that they CAN and WANT to take responsibility and work for the environment. That is a clear message to the ambassadors, especially those from the larger countries, that this is doable, if very expensive and potentially time consuming. Actual action is needed and a quite aggressive strategy to reduce CO2 emissions through taxes, subsides, carbon trade and legislation will probably be needed for real results. This is in fact necessary as Climate change is already upon us.

So we have the tech needed, in working condition or in the planning/experimental stage. It should be easy to just start using it, right? Well industry can’t really act without the above mentioned economical and legal steering. While most large corporations, like Volvo Group, are working very hard to reduce emissions and become more and more “green” in the production, they still have to make a profit of their products, and reducing emissions of CO2 and other pollutants, becoming more effective etc costs A LOT. One simply can’t invest infinite sums in environmental care when the competition don’t. Laws, regulations and the economy sets the level of viable environmental improvements and decides which is the best tech to use for reducing environmental impact. At least on a simplified level, I am no environmental economist so I have probably missed something.

It is sad to think about all that could have been done for the environment but doesn’t happen because it has become an economical top political issue. I sincerely hope the leaders of the world can get together and come up with a common goal this time around and that clean production will become more and more a priority. And until then there are a lot of improvements that can be done on a smaller scale in both large and small organizations, and for private persons as well. Organizing transports so cars and trucks are always full and taking the best route, making sure the environment is an important part of future planning and working with replacing old tech with cleaner as it gets to old are all things to consider which can improve the environmental status a lot. Working with attitudes among the employees, like providing bike parking and encouraging healthy and sustainable lifestyles are other options, which can be quite cheep and actually create something of value within the company. Do I dare mention that Commute Greener! is a good tool for this? After all, our campaigns have proven successful in several situations.

While this article more or less focus on the political and corporate side of this tech issue, it actually has a great impact on private persons as well. We all have the responsibility to take some kind of action for the planet and we are getting more and more gadgets and options through tech. It is not necessary to get it all, but a there are sure to be some goodies that can make everyday a bit more sustainable, right?

Fredrik

 

 

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