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How Can IoT Combat With Climate Change?

  • Yamini
  • Feb 03, 2022
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When Kevin Ashton first coined the term “Internet of Things'' back in 1999, he primarily meant using IoT in retail operations. But now, the concept of IoT has gone beyond retail applications to innovative applications for commercial and industrial use. 


We are currently witnessing the era when industries are seriously looking at these advancements not only to improve their performance but also to reduce energy consumption.


At a time when we all are leveraging technologies and innovations to usher in the fourth industrial revolution, we must be aware of the dwindling balance in the natural climate, mostly caused by our actions.


Our environment and the natural landscape have already suffered a lot owing to the recklessness with which we used and even now, continue to take advantage of our natural resources. 


Nobody thought of the harmful, catastrophic consequences of rapidly depleting fossil fuels and agricultural farming on a massive scale, that arrived into the mainstream in the twentieth century. 


If we look at the scenario from a broader perspective there are several advancements in the technological area, with a wide range of gadgets and devices coming out in the market that is Internet-enabled. The number of such devices would have been up to 30 billion by the year 2020.  


IoT platforms have shown recently how they can help us in staying connected to nature, and harnessing resources for our users without having to compromise on environmental sustainability. 


The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has outlined an aggressive approach for reducing carbon emissions, which is rapidly being implemented by various government-led initiatives all over the globe. 


Figuring out the best ways to reduce carbon footprint can be difficult for organizations and households alike due to the wide array of variables at play. 


An organization can easily work with a carbon certified engineer or agency, in order to measure their greenhouse gas emissions. This enables them to ensure that they know where to cut down on emissions. 


This is a much more difficult process because once the high pollutants are assessed, we must then track them back to the processes that cause them in the first place. That requires a lot of time and resources for precise assessment and analysis. 


What happens when IoT comes into play?


Statistics show even if we stop using all the greenhouse gases today, the world’s temperature would still continue to rise by 2 degrees. This is enough to demonstrate the extent of damage that has already been done, and we still need to work a long way to eliminate these pitfalls. 


In order to ensure that the buildings stay at net zero carbon, they must be equipped with IoT sensors. These sensors can help by easily tracking energy consumption, lighting, generating renewable energy on-site and eliminating waste sustainably. 


But this makes us wonder about the reliability of IoT sensors. Definitely, we know they are not entirely renewable or long-lasting. Research is now being carried out in various research centres so that a viable solution can be developed for a better sensor life. 


One such solution is to develop sensors that, when they reach their end of life, can simply dissolve into the ground or whatever they are held in, as it’s near impossible to collect all sensors once they’ve run out. 


A report by Erickson effectively demonstrates how IoT can bring about positive change within the industry. It highlights the fact that upto 15% of carbon emissions can be easily reduced by using IoT and this could happen by 2030. 


Reducing traffic congestion and unnecessary government spending can have a more positive impact on environmental problems. 


A number of smart city initiatives present around the globe will help in cutting down traffic. Smart traffic management and working on both road and rail networks for developing a more efficient range of services will definitely enhance greenhouse gas pollutants in urban environments to a great extent. 


We are now using electric vehicles more than ever before, combined with many smart traffic systems that are going to ensure that a minimal number of cars are being run on the roads. 


As more and more IoT platforms and developments are gaining unprecedented significance, their effects are gaining momentum throughout industries.


A large number of companies are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities and benefits offered by IoT. Yet, as we know the results are going to take a number of years to show up. 


However, the point that needs to be highlighted is that by using these technologies, we will see more uptake and demand for a sustainable future together combating climate change. Now, more and more industries are looking towards IoT devices and applications as a tool to reduce their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment. 


Initially, such initiatives for sustainability and climate change remediation represented a minimal part in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Now, these companies and industries are looking at carbon footprint reduction activities as a mainstream initiative forming a prominent part of their operations and businesses.


(Also check: 8 Ways in which AI tackles Climate Change)


Need to Reduce Carbon Footprint


Following the report, the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has spearheaded the initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 to 70 % lower than the emission levels back in 2010 by the year 2050. This is tough to achieve, but while declaring this goal the UN hoped that the world would heed its call. 


Several countries from around the world really heeded the call and participated in the Paris Agreement of 2016. More and more countries have participated and have ratified at least one climate change law on a national level. 


Despite this, the UN has reported that the climate targets set in Paris are at the verge of being missed by a huge margin. This shows that people and countries need to step up their initiatives in reducing emissions and carbon footprint.


Resembling a ray of hope, IoT can help industries execute their initiatives towards reducing their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. 


In a report published by Ericsson, the use of IoT has the potential of reducing emissions by as much as 63.5 gigatons by the year 2030, in case all industrial sectors participate. This way IoT can lead the way to help industries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and increase their energy efficiency.


Can IoT really reduce carbon footprint- What Statistics show?


Regardless of the industry vertical, a business is present in, there are several IoT applications they can leverage to reduce their carbon footprint. If we look at the retail industry, up to 50% of these retail companies across the globe have already adopted IoT in one way or another. 


And around 80% of these early adopters are reporting a significant increase in their energy and operational efficiencies, along with an increase in profitability.



Ending Note

This blog ends here. While ending the blog we can see a multitude of companies also tapping into IoT not only to improve their operational efficiencies but also for being able to harness the power of IoT to combat climate change and reduce their carbon footprint. 


The good news is that a lot of companies have reported the reduction of carbon emissions and an increase in their energy efficiencies by making use of IoT.  


Technology giants like Cisco and Fujitsu are also developing various IoT-enabled tools and gadgets that are going to be effective for driving energy efficiency. 


At first, these innovations were used as the uses of IoT in the energy industry, but now such technologies are also being used by other industry verticals.

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