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Technology Influence on Climate Change Term Paper


Introduction

In the modern world, technological innovations play a central role in fostering the growth and development of different societies. Despite facilitating the propagation of a positive change in the modern settings, technology triggers an array of adversities that undermine the well-being of the global population. Notably, technology poses considerable risks to the environment, thereby undermining the sustainability of the surroundings (Kroesen 272).

The remarkable triggers of environmental degradation facilitated by technology include the increased travel, excess power consumption, deforestation, increased waste production, and the excess use of gadgets. Undoubtedly, global warming is a portrayal of climate change in the modern world and hence the need for appropriate interventions to foster the sustainability of the environment. Surprisingly, technology can be applied to facilitate the management of climatic changes across the world through an array of approaches.

Some of the ways of mitigating climate change through technological advancements include the generation of renewable energy, the development of energy-efficient machines, and the establishment of greenhouse gas removal (GGR) technologies (Santamouris 87). Besides, the integration of technology towards influencing a socially just adaptation to the global climatic changes is also relevant. In this respect, this paper concluded that technology has indeed negatively influenced climate change. The paper argues that although technology has undermined the sustainability of the environment by triggering pollution in different forms, thus resulting in detrimental outcomes such as global warming, it plays a crucial role in fostering a socially just adaptation to a climate-changed planet.

A Brief Highlight of Technology and Climate Change

The 20th and 21st-centuries have witnessed a wide array of technological innovations that influence the lives of people in the world in different ways. Importantly, technological innovations seek to improve the daily lives of people. Such advancements primarily aim at enhancing the well-being of the global population. For instance, the use of airline services for transportation from one city to another influences the lives of the travelers by enhancing their safety of travel, as well as reducing the time used in their journey.

Nonetheless, the transportation technology poses considerable threats to the environment by facilitating the emission of poisonous gases, including carbon dioxide, to the environment (Bauer et al. “CO2 Emission” 245). In this concern, besides promoting efficient travel experiences, transportation technologies can also undermine the sustainability of the environment as denoted by the adversity of climate change in the contemporary world.

In particular, climate change infers to the alterations on the typical weather conditions of the earth arising from multiple and different activities of human beings on earth. Climate change is a growing issue of concern in the contemporary world, especially regarding its connection to technology. The issue of climate change is critical since it significantly influences the unpredictability of events on water systems, as denoted by the increase in cases of floods and droughts in various parts of the world.

In 2002, Australia experienced the worst drought in history as a detrimental effect of climate change on the continent (Kroesen 275). In the recent past, climatic changes have disrupted lives along low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific as sea levels continue to rise. Such devastating results can lead to the onset of shortages in food supplies, the eruption of conflicts, and displacement of people. Since the industrial period, planet earth has realized a 0.8°C increase in warmth, denoting the critical moments in which the human race is living (Kroesen 275). In this respect, there is the need to understand the technology-based triggers of climate change on earth.

The Detrimental Influence of Technology on Climate Change

Modern technologies enhance the transportation of people from one point to another. However, the sustainability of modern transportation technologies, especially air travel, damages the environment considerably as denoted by the detrimental consequences of air pollution. According to Kroesen, long drives, as well as world tours, contribute directly to air pollution, a significant factor that contributes to the degradation of the environment leading to an adverse climate change (273). Besides undermining the sustainability of the environment, air pollution resulting from increased travels predisposes people to a wide range of health risks that can damage human lives adversely.

Notably, transportation technologies influence climate change by contributing to the various forms of pollution, including air, water, and noise. Particularly, the combustion of fossil fuels used in air and land transportation plays a considerable part in triggering carbon dioxide emission, thereby polluting the environment (McCollum et al. 415). The greenhouse effect emanating from air pollution caused by transportation technologies is worrying as denoted by the heightening levels of global warming.

Notably, the slow destruction of the carbon dioxide released by aircraft and motor vehicles leads to the accumulation of the poisonous gases, for instance, CO2 and O3, in the atmosphere over time, thus undermining a balanced composition of substances in the air. Nitrous oxide is another poisonous gas emitted by fossil fuels used to power transportation technologies such as aircraft. Shockingly, according to Von Schneidemesser et al., it takes 121 years for the gas to be destroyed after being released into the atmosphere (3858). The accumulation of such gases contributes to the heating of the planet, thereby rendering it unsustainable.

Hence, air pollution that is witnessed following the increased traveling, thanks to advanced technologies, plays a key part in influencing the greenhouse effect. Poisonous gases emitted to the air, including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide as stated above, undermine the ability of the atmosphere to absorb the heat generated by the sun’s radiation, thereby leading to the counterproductive global warming (McCollum et al. 416).

The absence of balance that regulates the heat emitted by the sun’s radiation is worrying to the extent of raising questions concerning the sustainability of technological developments in the contemporary world. In 2012, geologists reported that the levels of carbon in the air had reached the 400 parts per million (ppm), an all-time high in history (Kroesen 273). The case is alarming since it denotes the extent to which the climate change issue is taking effect on planet earth.

Apart from triggering air pollution, traveling using the various technologies, including marine transport, causes water pollution. The pollution of water bodies by marine-based travel technologies and the rising earth’s water temperature are also considerable factors that denote the extent to which technology influences climate change. Particularly, climate fluctuations affect marine habitats by pushing away organisms in which they exist, thereby damaging coral reefs (Von Schneidemesser et al. 3868).

The water pollution issue is critical since it undermines the sustainability of aquatic life in various water bodies, including seas and rivers. Thus, the rise of global warming following the inefficiencies of transport technologies such as aircraft is a demonstration of the degree to which technological advancements affect the global climate.

An array of technological advancements applied in the contemporary settings requires a significant amount of energy to function. Notably, the use of technology to streamline processes in education, health, workplace, and home surroundings requires an adequate supply of power. The increased move towards the digitalization of processes in contemporary environments exposes planet earth to a wide range of risks that lead to an alteration of the climatic conditions (Santamouris 98). Additionally, industrial players incorporate energy-consuming technologies into their processes to boost their organizations’ efficiency and productivity. However, such technologies end up consuming a significant amount of energy, thereby posing risks on energy consumption and production. The resultant imbalances undermine the sustainability of the environment.

Energy consumption, especially fossil fuels, leads to global warming, as well as climate fluctuations. The rising demand for power triggers the continued production and distribution of energy forms such as oil, coal, and gas (Bauer et al. “Global Fossil Energy” 75). According to Santamouris, technologies of the modern age consume electricity in a way that affects economies, as well as the environments of different countries (121). Important to note, electricity generation accounts for one of the significant emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In 2013, the generation of electricity from bio-fuels accounted for the emission of 32 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide besides polluting the air in other different ways.

The increased production of petroleum to fulfill the rising demands for the commodity in the modern societies also creates significant environmental problems since it is toxic to almost the entire aspects of life. Furthermore, coal energy accounts for 57% of the electricity generated in the United States, thereby exposing the population to climate change adversities since the production of energy through the combustion of coal leads to significant carbon emissions in the atmosphere (McCollum et al. 420). Electricity production from the combustion of coal is increasingly worrying, owing to the difficulty of abandoning the substance as a natural resource that fuels the world.

Deforestation is also a detrimental outcome of the increased demand for electricity supply in a world that embraces technology. The harvesting of forests for the generation of electricity to meet the increasing power consumption demands in the modern societies influences the degradation of the environment, thus leading to climatic changes, a significant challenge in today’s world. For instance, bio-diesel production leads to deforestation whereby forests are cleared to pave the way for energy generation activities.

Important to note, the cutting down of trees interferes with the planet’s carbon cycle. According to McCollum et al., undertaking deforestation to meet the power consumption requirements prompted by technological changes also interferes with biodiversity, owing to the loss of forest cover, a natural habitat for different flora and fauna (420).

Technological changes influence the generation of more waste on earth, thereby triggering climatic changes, especially in industrialized countries. The replacement of old technologies with new ones has seen an increase in the disposal of waste that poses significant threats to the environment (Arroyo-Currás et al. 195). Notably, the rising number of landfills arising from waste disposal in certain areas is a growing concern in various societies since the improper disposal of waste products, especially plastics, degrades the environment. Therefore, there is a need for improving the environmental friendliness of products developed through different technological processes.

Technological innovations such as the creation of the personal computer (PC) in the last few decades has resulted in the increased embracement of portable computing devices as the popularity of computers with large monitors, central processing units (CPUs), and separate keyboards diminishes. The disposal of yesterday’s computer technologies, including large monitors, increases the technological wastes today. Additionally, new advancements in the development of television sets have seen a significant abandonment of the traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) television models since LED Television sets have found their way in contemporary living rooms.

Waste management approaches embraced by various countries contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that pose a significant threat to the environment. Besides directly causing climatic impacts, the management of wastes also indirectly undermines environmental sustainability through the consumption of energy. Landfills that comprise of wastes produced through technological processes lead to the production of methane, one of the poisonous GHGs that have to be reduced to save the world from counterproductive climate alterations (Bauer et al. “CO2 Emission” 247). In this respect, the management of wastes through landfills places the environment at the jeopardy of global warming, owing to the emission of lethal gases.

The above expositions present technology as a major contributor to the negative impacts noted from climatic changes. However, it is crucial to point out that the same technology too can be deployed to enable a socially just adaptation to a climate-changed planet. Important to note, GHG emissions from formal or informal waste management processes are dependent on the conditions of the region, including the energy mix, composition, the performance of technology, and the storage of carbon (Bauer et al. “CO2 Emission” 250).

The mitigation of the detriments of waste management calls for the incorporation of new technologies that cut the generation of excessive waste in various parts of the world. Furthermore, the integration of technologies to streamline the prevention of waste accumulation goes a long way in facilitating the realization of significant GHG savings on earth. Therefore, the application of technologies to prevent technologically induced wastes is crucial towards fostering the sustainability of the environment by altering the climate change situation experienced today.

Applying Technology to Fight Climatic Changes

The application of technology to lessen climate change is one of the critical ways of addressing the biggest problem facing the world today. Undoubtedly, artificial problems prompt non-natural solutions. In this respect, the development of technologies ranging from the enhancement of transportation to the generation of renewable energy is considerable towards facilitating the attainment of a sustainable planet (Foley and Olabi 1113). Therefore, looking at the various ways in which technology can be applied to facilitate the adaptation and/or the fight against climate change is relevant in the context of this paper.

As noted earlier, the transport industry plays a considerable role in damaging the environment following significant carbon dioxide emission. The field of transport produces at least 23% of the carbon dioxide emissions induced by fuel combustion globally (Arroyo-Currás et al. 197). Given that the demand for transportation is on the rise on a daily basis, the deterioration of the global climate is perceived to get worse. For this reason, technology has been applied in the creation of advancements that bring about efficiency in the transport sector.

The development of new aircraft models that facilitate the reduction of GHG emissions is a depiction of technological innovations geared towards saving the world. Particularly, the manufacture of energy-efficient aircraft is an issue of interest in the aviation sector since it shows concern for the environment (Von Schneidemesser et al. 3860). For instance, the incorporation of bio-fuels into power aircraft is a consideration towards improving the energy efficiency of such transportation technologies. Furthermore, aircraft players such as Boeing have shown interest in developing lighter engines that foster the efficiency of energy usage. Moreover, aviation players can incorporate technologies such as aerodynamic designs to create environmentally friendly aircraft.

The increased manufacture of electric cars is necessary to manage the climate change issue. The technology used in the manufacture of electric cars goes a long way in reducing the transport sector’s continued dependence on fossil fuels, thus cutting GHG emissions (McCollum et al. 419). Projections indicate that the increased investment in the production of electric cars will make them account for 75% of automobiles sales by 2050 (Bauer et al. “Global Fossil Energy” 69). An increase of electric cars on the roads implies the realization of a transport sector that is energy efficient and friendly to the environment. The cutting of atmospheric pollution from the air transport sector will contribute positively to the fight against climatic change around the globe.

Additionally, there is also the need for continued research and development to facilitate the production of self-driving cars since such technologies will go a long way in reducing waste and fuel consumption, thereby cutting greenhouse emissions. Companies such as Tesla have shown considerable efforts towards the creation of self-driving cars. Other companies should embrace such technological initiatives to save the future from the adversities of climatic fluctuations.

Emerging markets, including low-income economies, should integrate a clean transport technology as the demand for cars rises. For instance, it is projected that the automobiles demand in India will double by 2020 (Arroyo-Currás et al. 195). In this light, the need to introduce clean transport technologies is crucial since the move will be integral in facilitating the reduction of GHCs, especially carbon dioxide. Therefore, there is a need for the continued production of alternative fuel cars, hybrids, and electric vehicles to mitigate the issue of climate change that has undermined the realization of a sustainable planet.

The up-surging demand for energy in the modern societies subjects the environment to various threats that contribute to climatic changes. In response to the inefficiencies in the energy sector, interested parties advocate for the integration of technology to facilitate the efficient generation, supply, and consumption of energy. For this reason, technologies have realized a considerable integration to bolster the production of green energy. For instance, according to Hochstetler and Kostka, countries such as China, the U.S, India, and Saudi Arabia have invested heavily in solar power plants to generate electricity (75).

The embracement of solar power in the U.S. is one of the noticeable moves towards a green society. The solar power plants in the country continue meeting the demand for green energy in the country. The demand for such power averages at 25% annually. Saudi Arabia is another society that has embraced solar power amid the abundance of fossil fuels in the country (Bauer et al. “Global Fossil Energy” 70).

Since electricity demand is rising in the Middle Eastern state, generating power from renewable sources is viewed as a sustainable way of meeting the energy requirements of Saudi Arabians. India is also showing desirable progress towards the integration of solar power in its energy sector to promote environmental sustainability amid the heightening demand for energy in the country. In this respect, the advancement of technologies that facilitate the effective tapping of solar energy is a great way of curbing the adverse consequences of traditional energy sources on the environment.

The Internet-of-things technologies in the globe also facilitate the realization of energy efficiency, thus safeguarding the surroundings from global warming and climate change. The integration of smart grids into the modern societies facilitates the efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of energy grids (McCollum et al. 418). Furthermore, energy storage technologies make it possible for renewable sources of energy to be regarded as reliable power sources on electricity grids. Such technologies facilitate the shift away from overreliance on electricity generated from coal, which contributes to the release of hazardous gases such as carbon dioxide.

The felling down of trees to generate energy in the form of firewood and charcoal in developing countries is also a concern since the practice leads to deforestation, which has a significant effect on climate change. The generation of bio-fuels not only pollutes the air but also interferes with the biodiversity. For this reason, concerned parties such as Google have developed a technology that seeks to curb deforestation globally. In fact, in collaboration with the UN environmental program, as well as Maryland University, Google has created a tool that facilitates the monitoring of activities that lead to deforestation in different countries (Jewell et al. 125).

Through the integration of satellite technology and human networks, as well as remote sensing, Global Forest Watch 2.0 is an advancement that carries out a detailed surveillance of the globe’s forest cover to detect deforestation instances. In this regard, the technology is useful in streamlining the effectiveness of managing forests in different countries. The technology influences climate change positively by allowing the monitoring of developments that undermine the natural functionality of the carbon cycle on earth.

The development of technologies that capture carbon is one of the prospective ways of combating climate change today. The need to integrate such technologies in power plants, as well as industrial settings, is strategic since it will enhance the fight against GHG emissions. Particularly, the technology has the potential of capturing 65% of the carbon emitted during the generation of energy from sources such as coal and fossil fuels (Bauer et al. “Global Fossil Energy” 74). However, due to the capital intensiveness of the technology, it has not realized full implementation in power plants. Countries such as the U.S. have allocated resources to facilitate research and development activities geared towards the adoption of carbon-capture technologies.

The adoption of nuclear energy as a carbon-free fuel source is also a considerable move towards the use of technology in influencing climate change. Amid the security threats and waste management issues posed by nuclear energy, the technology used to produce it supports the realization of a green world since the source of power does not release GHGs to the air. In the recent past investors, including Bill Gates, have injected funds to spearhead initiatives such as Tetra Power to facilitate the generation of nuclear energy (Mohan and Fukushi 128).

Applying Technology to Enhance a Socially Just Adaptation to a Climate-Changed Planet

From the above findings, it is indeed apparent that a wide array of technologies has already been put in place to fight the climate change menace on earth. However, technological advancements present many opportunities that facilitate the creation of socially justified adaptation to climate change. In this regard, the development of mobile apps that address the need to mitigate climate change is relevant in a world where almost everyone uses a cell phone.

The development of a mobile application that enables users to develop new changes on a daily basis in their lives is one of the creative ways of raising awareness and responsibility among people interested to save the future of the society from the adversities of climate change. The creation of a mobile application that allows users to monitor and/or cut their carbon footprints is a reasonable way of creating a socially just approach of ensuring that everyone adapts to the climate change issues devastating planet earth.

The mobile application will integrate features that bolster the accountability of users towards promoting environmental sustainability. For instance, the application will incorporate a feature that allows users to see the value of carbon on everything they purchase, eat, or do. The carbon value denotes the impact posed by the individual on global warming and climate change. Besides, the feature will allow individuals to carry out a comparison of their carbon footprints with those of others in the neighborhood.

In this regard, the mobile application enhances a collaborative approach to fighting the climate change problem by monitoring the extent to which individuals and groups put efforts that cut GHG emissions, as well as fostering energy efficiency. Therefore, the mentioned feature will support the ability of individuals to adapt to the changing climate in a socially just manner.

The mobile app will also integrate a feature that encourages users to cut their paper waste. For instance, the application may take a snapshot of the junk mail before being delivered, a strategy where the user can be removed from the mailing list. The feature goes a long way in promoting environmental sustainability by discouraging deforestation. The effective management of waste is one of the ways of mitigating the emission of damaging gases in the air.

Furthermore, the application will also incorporate a feature that offers users an opportunity to track their carbon footprints as they carry out their traveling endeavors. Once the users start their travel, they can turn on the tracker to carry out an automatic calculation of the carbon used. The feature raises the awareness of users about their contribution to climate change on earth, including the ways through which they can foster sustainability. As such, they can opt for more sustainable projects that can save the world from the negative effects of climate change in the end.

Undoubtedly, the mobile technology will change the daily lives of people in an array of ways. The incorporation of such a technology in the fight against climate change is one of the viable ways of ensuring a collaborative approach to the embracement of practices that promote the sustainability of the environment. Importantly, the deployment of the mobile application by various users in different societies will go a considerable way in facilitating the creation of a socially justifiable strategy of adapting to the climatically changing planet. In other words, if all people would join hands in applying the mobile application on a daily basis, it is possible to eliminate many of the discussed negative impacts that other technologies have posed on earth.

Conclusion

The issue of climate change is a major concern in the world today. The paper has pointed out that technology influences the climate change problem positively and negatively. As such, addressing the issue without considering the influence of technology is not comprehensive. Hence, the endeavor may be fruitless. Notably, technological advancements contribute to the development of climate change through an array of ways, including transportation, energy consumption, and the disposal of waste.

Particularly, the increased travel, the rising energy demands, and waste disposal contribute to the significant release of GHGs that undermine the sustainability of the environment. Besides interfering with the condition of the air, technology also triggers deforestation, which is a considerable threat to the biodiversity balance. Nonetheless, technology can also be deployed in the fight against climate change in the world as denoted by advancements in areas such as transportation, energy, and waste management.

Besides, the adoption of a mobile application that encourages individuals in the society to combat climate change is one of the socially justified ways of adapting to the prevailing global climate change. Importantly, taking individual responsibility, as well as joining collaborative efforts through the integration of such a technology, goes a long way in bolstering environmental sustainability in an age where climate change is the largest problem facing humanity.

Works Cited

Arroyo-Currás, Tabaré, et al. “Carbon Leakage in a Fragmented Climate Regime: The Dynamic Response of Global Energy Markets.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 90, no. A, 2015, pp. 192-203.

Bauer, Nico, et al. “CO2 Emission Mitigation and Fossil Fuel Markets: Dynamic and International Aspects of Climate Policies.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 90, no. A, 2015, pp. 243-256.

— “Global Fossil Energy Markets and Climate Change Mitigation–An Analysis With REMIND.” Climatic Change, vol. 136, no. 1, 2016, pp. 69-82.

Foley, Aoife, and Abdul Olabi. Renewable Energy Technology Developments, Trends and Policy Implications that can Underpin the Drive for Global Climate Change. Elsevier, 2017.

Hochstetler, Kathryn, and Genia Kostka. “Wind and Solar Power in Brazil and China: Interests, State–Business Relations, and Policy Outcomes.” Global Environmental Politics, vol. 15, no. 3, 2015, pp. 74-94.

Jewell, Jessica, et al. “Energy Security of China, India, the EU and the US Under Long-term Scenarios: Results From Six IAMs.” Climate Change Economics, vol. 4, no. 4, 2013, pp. 1340011-1340044.

Kroesen, Maarten. “Exploring People’s Viewpoints on Air Travel and Climate Change: Understanding Inconsistencies.” Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 21, no. 2, 2013, pp. 271-290.

McCollum, David, et al. “Fossil Resource and Energy Security Dynamics in Conventional and Carbon-Constrained Worlds.” Climatic Change, vol. 123, no. 4, 2014, pp. 413-426.

Mohan, Geetha, and Kensuke Fukushi. Stimulating Social Application of Energy-Efficient Technology for Climate Change Mitigation. University of Tokyo, 2017.

Santamouris, Matheos. Energy and Climate in the Urban Built Environment. Routledge, 2013.

Von Schneidemesser, Erika, et al. “Chemistry and the Linkages Between Air Quality and Climate Change.” Chemistry Review, vol. 115, no. 10, 2015, pp. 3856-3897.

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