The growing world population requires more energy than ever before, with average energy consumption increasing by 1-2% every year. And the growing adoption of technology is a contributing factor to humanity’s growing carbon footprint. For example, in 2020, smartphones accounted for 1% of global carbon emissions, but this figure is expected to rise to 3.5% within a decade. Similarly, traffic on telecommunications networks is expected to quintuple from 2018 to 2024, with each person in the world expected to generate the data equivalent of 6,700 photo downloads. per day.
So, is technology helping or hurting the planet? Can we turn the tide against environmental threats using technology?
A key step moving forward is to prioritize energy efficiency and green development in the technology sector and to transfer the innovations we bring to other industries. From green communications networks to green data centers, green innovations can make a critical difference to the global carbon footprint created by businesses. By embracing digital technologies, we predict that industries will be able to reduce their energy consumption by 20% by 2030, a carbon offset that will be ten times greater than the energy used by the ICT sector itself.
However, increasing energy consumption is not the only threat facing our planet. The ability of the world’s rainforests to remove carbon from the atmosphere is declining as rapidly as forest cover is disappearing, reducing carbon sinks and creating a domino effect of habitat and biodiversity loss.
For nature conservation, we need to develop solutions that can understand the world’s ecosystems and form the basis for effective protective measures. With our partners, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Rainforest Connection, we have developed solutions through our Tech4Nature and TECH4ALL initiatives to make this possible in ecosystems around the world, from rainforests , from mountains and plateaus to wetlands, rivers and oceans.
Infrared camera technology analyzed by cloud-based artificial intelligence, for example, helps track and monitor species near extinction, including Darwin’s fox and Hainan gibbon.
Similar technologies are enabling the restoration of a coral reef system in the Indian Ocean and working to prevent an invasive species from decimating wild Atlantic salmon populations in Europe. AI-powered acoustic solutions deployed in treetops can detect sounds of chainsaws and trucks associated with illegal logging in rainforests and send real-time alerts to rangers in the field. According to the UN, up to 90% of logging is illegal, and since pre-industrial times, 64% of all rainforest has been destroyed or degraded.
Collaborate for conservation
While technology underpins nature conservation and net zero travel, partnerships deliver results. On June 6 – the day after World Environment Day 2022 – Huawei hosts the Tech for a Better Planet 2022 summit with the support of IUCN. Our partners will discuss the role of technology as a catalyst in protecting and restoring our badly damaged planet, including many of the projects featured in this article.
After all, we only have one earth.
Click the link to register for the webinar.
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1825575/Endemic_Chile_facing_threats_1_000_Darwin_s_foxes_remain.jpg