Posts Tagged ‘clean tech’

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?





Selling in Eco driving to the public


Eco-driving, green driving or whatever one might call it is something we have written about several times on this page. If it isn’t possible to commute without a car where you live, it is at least a good idea to make sure you get as much as possible out of every litre/gallon of fuel and thus reducing your CO2 emissions, right? You might even save some money. Or a lot depending on your current style of driving.

The problem is that when gas prizes have historically been low, especially in oil producing countries (I’m looking at you USA), no one have really bothered learning this driving style. Why bother when a gallon of milk is more expensive then fuel after all. And there is no real hard proof of global warming, right? That’s just those eggheads in white lab coats and hippies speaking. Right?

Buuuuuuut! Times are changing. Fuel is getting more and more expensive. People complain and pay their last money at the pump. It is getting more and more apparent that something is happening with our climate. While many are uninterested in changing climate and warmer summers and colder winters, saving money is interesting to anyone. This was discussed at a transportation conference during may in California by experts from scientific institutions as well as industry representatives.

The conclusion; sure it is a good time to try to introduce eco-driving to the public. We have the economical incentive, environmental incentive and lots of new technology to play with.  But there are lots of stuff we don’t know about drivers behaviour which need to be researched first.

I agree with this. Eco-driving requires a special set of mind. You will have to plan ahead, be careful and think of what you are doing. The ride should be smooth with only the absolute necessary stops on the way. So is it just for smart people? Well no. Anyone can do it. But most people don’t know the benefits or the technique. Or have the patience to try. I have had cars switch lane to pass me at a red light, only to have to step on the breaks when they are past me more then once. Not exactly green and planned behaviour.

Tailpipe emissions from a cold start - Wikipedia commons

So what is the solution? Well, look at the benefits. Should eco-driving be named econo-driving as is suggested in the article above? I say why not. Saving money is always tempting, and making every drop of fuel count is getting more and more important. In doing so, you have less emissions. The environment is happy as well as the purse. Mandatory eco/economy driving classes for drivers licence education? We have that here in Sweden, but you still see people speeding towards red lights, hitting the breaks, standing still and then making a burnout trying to get up too speed as fast as possible.

Would new tech be a way to encourage green behaviour? I don’t know. Having the GPS point out which road has the best possibility of green driving may very well be something for all the technique interested people around the world. Displays showing current and best fuel consumption as well as current CO2 emissions may be something as well. But will this really change anything? Will people become greener drivers because a piece of tech says so?

As you can understand, this is just speculations on my part right now. I literary have no idea of how to change an uninterested persons mind, especially on such a touchy subject as driving style. A survey made by a newspaper here in Sweden showed that 80% of the drivers who answered thought they were “above average” drivers (and most of them are most certainly NOT above average:P). I am sure it is the same in other countries as well.

Hopefully eco-driving will not be something “special” in the future. Everybody will do it and not think anything about it. Well, the best would be if everyone took the bike to work. Or the bus. Or the train Or walked. Hopefully those will be the most common modes of transportation in the future.  But we are used to driving, and this is a good(ish) way to at least reduce the emissions a bit. Try it out. There are lots of guides out there on the net. It is fun, will save you some money and reduce your CO2 footprint a bit.



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