World leaders and businesses combat the intensifying effects of climate change at the annual COP26 summit this week
After the event was delayed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, world and business leaders have finally gathered in Glasgow this week to update their plans for reducing emissions and continue the battle against runaway climate change.
The international climate summit aims to bring together every nation on earth to tackle the increasingly critical issue of global climate change. Some of this year’s most pivotal goals include adapting to protect communities and natural habitats, securing global net zero by mid-century and mobilising finance. Different areas of technology are helping to achieve these goals, such as cloud, data centres, artificial intelligence, diagnostics and many more.
But how exactly are these industries helping? From technology to healthcare, leading industry figures have described the challenges being faced in their domains and how they are overcoming them.
Green hybrid working
Fabrizio Garrone, Aruba representative on the Board of Directors of Climate Neutral Data Center Pact, is one of those prioritising sustainability as businesses are generating more data than ever. He says: “COP26 represents a new era of ambition for the world and also the data centre industry, as the sector continues to take steps towards becoming more sustainable and green efficient. Environmental issues continue to dominate the front pages of public discourse, especially in light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic. As remote working has become the norm, even more organisations are now relying on outsourced data centre services and cloud computing to support their everyday operations. As an industry, we need to work together, especially through initiatives like the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, to provide customers with solutions that ultimately lower their operations’ impact on the environment – such as geothermal and photovoltaic systems. It’s only then we’ll see measures that will prioritise protecting the environment and offer true “green” options, that will allow us to carry on with our way of doing business and at the same time, protect the world we live in.”
Utilising web data
Similarly, CEO at Bright Data – Or Lenchner believes: “We’re still a long way from our goal to globally reduce carbon emissions, set by the leaders of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Of course, governments have already started to sustain and improve almost every sector of the business world, including mobility and general infrastructure. But, while impressive, it’s only a small part of what’s required to take ‘green’ efforts to the next level. In co-operation with businesses, governments must tap into web-based data to make use of the vast knowledge and insights to drive new and better ideas for a ‘greener’ economy.
“For example, public web data can be gathered to accurately measure price fluctuations in electric energy or map out public sentiment on the use of different types of energy technologies to gauge potential investment and use of solar-powered technologies. Those within the automotive space can tap into web data out there to understand the uptake figures behind electric vehicles purchased and the impact they have on the overall Co2 levels in specific areas. It’s obvious that public web data is the new water and there’s plenty enough openly available for everyone to share around, and use the insights gained from it to drive a new frontier in the fight against climate change.”
The rise of sustainable healthcare
Helen Dent, COO at BIVDA, also acknowledges the widespread effects of using sustainable technologies in the healthcare industry. She recognises that: “Each industry has its role to play and healthcare is no different. It is encouraging to see the NHS aiming to be carbon neutral by 2040 on the emissions it controls directly and has set a target of 2045 to be neutral on the emissions it influences.”
She argues that: “Moving towards a more sustainable healthcare system in the UK won’t just reduce carbon emissions and help to mitigate the impact of climate change, it will also improve the health of the entire population. Issues such as the use of plastics, food production and air quality are all inextricably linked to cancer, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, high blood pressure and mental health conditions. As an industry we can lead the way in championing more sustainable, lower-carbon, and zero-waste solutions that will help to prevent these conditions. The diagnostics industry is one of the first ports of call when it comes to dealing with serious diseases. Technological advancements have led the way in detecting these illnesses, now it’s on us to think about how we can operate at a more sustainable level long term.”
It’s clear that technology and data are unequivocally crucial in the fight to save the environment. Digitalisation has the power to drive a much more efficient, lower-carbon and resilient future.