June 23, 2022
The role of technology in creating a greener future
Our CEO, Dave Rouse, was one of two featured speakers to present at London Tech Week’s leadership roundtable panel on ‘the role of technology in creating a greener future’. Here’s what Dave has to say about the topic.
Summary from Dave
Firstly, a key challenge is energy consumption. IT now accounts for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions (4x the emissions of air travel!) despite much of it already being powered by cleaner energy sources.
We know technology can enrich our lives and can save emissions, for example by holding a meeting via video conference instead of driving or flying.
And on the horizon, technology has so much to do to further advance. I picked on one area as an example, Blockchain and Web 3.0. Solutions in this space can help reduce fraud and scams in the banking systems, help us to control our data and privacy. And, a blockchain based digital identity system can not only replace passports, but can also help to solve human fraud like trafficking. However, it uses more power to process – particularly if the tech is done in ways like Bitcoin is – using proof of work. In the case of Bitcoin, just transacting (paying for something with bitcoin), uses 160x the energy compared to a Visa transaction. And we know it has a huge carbon footprint to mine and produce in the first place.
Things we can do
We need to consider the environment when choosing which technologies help advance our lives, without destroying the planet. Clean energy still leaves a carbon footprint to produce, so the transition needs to be in combination with a reduction in energy usage if we are to solve tech’s contribution to the climate crisis.
Some things we can do are as simple as using dark themes and inverting documents to be white text on black background, while more complex items we can address are the chips being as efficient as those in our phones in power consumption. Last but not least, naturally, we spoke about carbon offsetting to complement these reduction considerations, building a meaningful climate action program that participants could grow to really appreciate.
The role technology plays in creating a greener future can start with us as individuals. We need to be cautious of technology’s contribution to climate change and our actions that come with that. Therefore, a first step we can take is understanding our personal impact.
If you’re interested in understanding more about your individual impact and how to reduce it, check out our quick and easy personal carbon calculator here.