Welcome to May’s edition of our Sustainability Snapshot blog, exploring some of the key green developments from the world of technology that caught our attention over the last month.
First, to put April’s snapshot into context, we saw big strides from the world of politics, with President Biden telling the world that we are in a “decisive decade” for tackling climate change. The US has now pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% whilst the UK set out new targets to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2030. Meanwhile, in a historic ruling, Germany’s supreme constitutional court ruled that the government’s climate protection measures are insufficient to protect future generations.
April also saw the world celebrate Earth Day. This year’s theme focused on the need to “Restore Our Earth” and included 72-hours of digital action, focusing on the emerging green technologies that could help to restore the world’s ecosystems.
Check out more of what we’ve been reading and watching below…
Technology and collaboration – the key to success
Could technology help the US to achieve its goal to cut carbon emissions by 50-52%? Jennifer Granholm, the U.S. energy secretary, has certainly indicated so after stating that her department will be announcing new goals for “leaps in next generation technologies,” such as carbon capture, energy storage and industrial fuels.
As bitcoin mining increases, so do the environmental consequences
Over the last few months, Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency have surged in value. However, what many individuals don’t realise is the increased impact on our environment. For example, one single bitcoin transaction now uses the same amount of power that the average American household consumes in a month. Read more in The New Yorker.
A supercomputer for change
The Met Office is working with Microsoft to build a weather forecasting supercomputer in the UK to better understand climate change. The new supercomputer will run on 100% renewable energy and help the UK remain at the forefront of climate science.
Sky-high in the cloud
To celebrate Earth Day, we worked with Google Cloud to show how cloud and datacentre providers are putting sustainability at the heart of their operations. All of Google’s datacentres now run on carbon-free energy, providing one of the cleanest cloud services in the industry. As a result of these efforts and those of other businesses in the industry, IDC predicts that cloud computing could prevent one billion metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2024.
How repairable are tech products?
Earlier this year, France launched its new Repairability Index, requiring companies to self-report the repairability of their products based on five key categories. The results are now in, and they’re not great. Apple was unable to give any of its iPhones or MacBooks a repair score higher than 7 out of 10 whilst Microsoft’s scores maxed out at 5 out of 10.
Climate campaigns go virtual
From flooding the streets to flooding Twitter, The Guardian spoke to six young climate activists on how they’re taking their call for climate action online. The piece follows a powerful speech from 19-year-old Xiye Bastida, whose inspiring words on climate change at President Biden’s virtual Leaders Climate Summit gained almost a quarter of a million views on Twitter.
The jury’s still out on whether COP26 should take place this year, with several industry experts recommending delaying the conference. Former UN climate chief Yvo de Boer, who ran UN climate talks until 2010, says that a delay to talks would be preferable to “messing it up”. Greta Thunberg has also stated that she will not be attending the talks due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, adding “the best thing to do would be to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible so that everyone could take part on the same terms.”