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How tech companies are fueling the net zero economy

By Priyadarshi Nanu Pany

Bhubaneshwar: Sustainability is the new buzzword in a digitally driven world. And “net-zero” is the latest obsession of countries and companies. Worries are not amplified. The shift to a carbon neutral world is inevitable to save a vulnerable human race from the catastrophic effects of climate change.

The world is eager to be net zero by 2050. That’s too ambitious a goal. Achieving the net zero mission means finding the right balance between sources and sinks of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. To reach net zero by 2050, the world needs to spend a staggering $4 trillion on clean energy by 2030, 3 times what is currently invested.

An IEA study shows that global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 6% in 2021 to 36.3 billion tonnes, their highest level on record, as the global economy sharply rebounded from the Covid-19 crisis. To absorb this volume of carbon emissions, the world must plant 2.8 billion trees or create a forest the size of Portugal.

And if no action is taken, the volume of GHG emissions is expected to increase by 50%, mainly due to a 70% growth in energy-related CO2 emissions. Atmospheric GHG concentration could reach 685 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 equivalents by 2050. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report 2021, total global emissions must be reduced to 18 billion tonnes (or 25 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent) by 2030 if we are to achieve net zero by 2050.

The scenario awakens us to the magnitude of the challenge we face to build a resilient and net zero world.

It also raises a crucial question: how much of this pernicious carbon are we capturing now? According to the Global CCS Institute’s 2021 Status Report, plants in operation or under construction have the current capacity to capture 40 million metric tons of CO2 per year. Carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies can capture more than 90% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants and industrial facilities.

Nations have converged their efforts to reduce carbon emissions. India, the third-largest emitter after China and the United States, has pledged to cut its emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030, up from 2.8 billion tonnes in 2021. Organizationally too, the net zero clock is ticking. More than 3,000 companies have made net zero commitments as part of the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign.

It’s not just about greening our planet. The transition to a net zero economy can save lives, catalyze new industries, create millions of jobs, and unlock immense economic value. Businesses today have no choice but to embrace the net zero campaign. As they say, “what gets measured or rewarded gets done”. Stakeholders, consumers and investors are increasingly asking companies to act for a sustainable future. And technology companies can be the anchors of this transition.

The tech companies driving digital transformation around the world are at the forefront of the net zero euphoria. Digital companies are on the ground buying increasing shares of renewable energy, investing in carbon removal and issuing green bonds. In addition, they help create viable markets for renewable energy and accelerate global progress towards carbon neutrality. Seven of the ten largest buyers of renewable energy in the world in 2020 were digital companies.

The products and services of digital companies have become crucial in enabling emission reductions in other sectors. BP has entered the electric vehicle power distribution market with its pulse platform, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ CO2NNEX carbon capture ecosystem platform enables the green economy. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and IBM created CO2NNEX as an interconnected ecosystem of CO2 emitters, carbon sensors, storage providers and CO2 users. The digital platform connecting the partners underpins this ecosystem.

Bloomberg reports that America’s biggest tech companies are taking unprecedented action on climate change. The technology industry plays a vital role in this journey. By improving their business operations and connections, they can drive change and pave the way for emissions reductions across the value chain.

Long-term solutions to a sustainable future require help from the technology sector. The electronics design industry has the opportunity to develop clean energy systems, improve data analysis for environmental applications, and advance machine technology in transportation, construction, and resource management natural. Working with UN Energy and Sustainable Energy for All, Google is expanding the availability of renewable energy 24/7.

Major cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure are well positioned to provide advanced analytics services. They develop ESG (environment, social and governance) strategies based on cloud and analytical services and use technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of things (IoT) and the Smart Grid solutions they pilot. with key customers.

Moving to the cloud alone can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 60 million tons per year, according to a 2020 report from Accenture. Moving to the public cloud could lead to a 5.9% decrease in carbon emissions worldwide – that’s like taking 22 million cars off the road.
There is a lot to be unlocked from Blockchain technology that offers traceability, transparency, security, speed and efficiency – all of which could be used to track carbon emissions within an organization and throughout its supply chain. Blockchain ledgers could also be used to track rare metals (e.g. cobalt used in batteries) or food supply chains.

Think tech for a buzzing net zero economy. The action has begun.

(Writer Priyadarshi Nanu Pany is the CEO of CSM Technology)