Use Cases, Smart Decisions, IoT Applications

Using IoT to Combat Climate Change

On the heels of the UN’s most damning climate change report to date, economic scientists William Nordhaus and Paul Romer were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work on the economics of global warming.

Their advice to world leaders and policymakers? Enact a tax to correspond to the social cost of carbon emissions. Without it, we’ll be seeing food and water shortages, disease, flooding, erosion and extreme political unrest in the next few decades.

Though this type of aggressive policy change is currently viewed as political poison in the US, many major world economies (including China, Canada and parts of Europe) are already starting to implement carbon pricing.

Romer states that with these policies in place, “people will see that there’s a big profit to be made from figuring out ways to supply energy where they can do it without incurring the tax.”

And that’s where IoT solutions come into play. In a 2015 report by Ericsson, researchers found that the Information and Communications Technology industry (which includes IoT) could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 63.5 gigatons, or 15%, across all industrial sectors by 2030.

Ericsson’s examples of IoT’s wide-ranging potential to increase efficiencies and enable energy savings to include the following:

  • Electricity distribution – Smart metering, small-scale renewable energy sources and smart grid solutions in households and buildings will help reduce energy consumption and cut losses.
  • Services and industry – Smart solutions in the fields of government, healthcare, and education will lower the costs of service industries and promote socioeconomic development in underserved parts of the world – parts that climate change will hit the hardest.
  • Transport – Smart travel solutions will lower emissions by optimizing routes through traffic, helping drivers find parking spaces more quickly, and supporting a shift towards more eco-friendly alternatives, like public transport.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. By financially disincentivizing carbon usage, we’ll see an outpouring of creative new ways to reduce waste and lower greenhouse gas emissions across every industry. With efficiency at the heart of IoT, there’s no doubt it’ll be a powerful ally to the fight.