The Internet of Things (IoT) is about more than optimizing our comforts with smarter portable devices, efficiently contributing to logistics and industry, and improving our homes and work spaces with modern and responsive technology. IoT solutions are already helping to stop climate change. Global innovators are taking an active role, aligning IoT devices with international standards for environmental protection.
The best scenarios described by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) require aggressive mitigation of global carbon emissions, which require them to fall from 40% to 70% lower than in 2010. And even reach that goal only delays global warming. At the new levels, the IPCC projects, average temperatures could still rise by 2 degrees Celsius by 2050.
The Climate Group, a global NGO, advocates a generalized change to LED lighting, especially in public spaces and public lighting, to reduce carbon emissions by 1.4 million tons per year. The US Department of Energy It supports these objectives through its Outdoor Lighting Accelerator program, which offers technical, financial and regulatory assistance.
Meanwhile, manufacturers are dedicated to making investment in LEDs even more profitable, by developing digital lighting networks throughout the city that function as IoT-enabled digital canopies. When integrated into these networks, connected sensors can improve city efficiency, help redirect vehicle traffic, for example, or facilitate and expedite driver parking, reduce loads further.
Ericsson Research projects that what they call the smart grid could only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.9 percent by 2030. This constantly developing IoT energy supply network, which can detect and adjust local changes in The use of energy provides numerous ecological benefits. A small component of the smart grid, the smart electricity meter, allows real-time two-way communication between the consumer and the utility, which makes it easier to meet energy demand with less waste by coordinating the conservation of Energy and power generation. Public utilities could start rewarding consumers for using less energy during high demand hours, for example.
To help reduce the impact of carbon on a day-to-day basis, the World Green Buildings Council seeks to ensure that all new buildings operate with zero net carbon. The IoT sensors available today are compatible with the reduction of energy consumption, the generation of renewable energy on site and the realization of closed-circuit measurements of carbon and waste consumption.
IoT-driven smart industry and services could represent a 3 percent carbon reduction by increasing efficiency and eliminating the dependence on disposable materials (such as paper) in both the public and private sectors.
Smart agriculture, according to Ericsson Research, could facilitate another 3 percent reduction. Today's smart agricultural efforts include better animal monitoring, which identifies sick cattle based on the position and behavior of the animal. Being able to detect, treat and eliminate sick animals has improved meat and dairy yields and reduced antibiotic over-treatment, while creating opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from unfit animals.
Low-cost, low-power IoT devices could bring precision agriculture (which minimizes the use of fertilizers, pesticides and water) to countries that are modernizing much faster than has been possible so far. That means avoiding years of excessive consumption of water, fuel and soil additives.
Early adoption of IoT monitoring and redirection for ocean freight shipping shows that it is possible to reduce fuel consumption by up to 15 percent. Preventive maintenance that avoids general five-week reviews in favor of on-site repairs could also reduce the need to build redundant fleets.
IoT sensors will be increasingly important in an effort to expand carbon monitoring and taxes. As the UN Forum on Sustainable Climate Action Innovation has reported, only 15 percent of carbon emissions are priced and taxed today, and the group expects aggressive expansion.
Enforcing pollution targets has long been a challenge for regulators. The good news is that public / private climate-oriented partnerships have grown in importance during the 21st century. Companies, local governments and NGOs have increased their participation and coordination in large-scale climate change reduction efforts.
However, coordination and implementation can be difficult for these organizations. Private auditors and monitoring agencies cannot always provide coverage, and smaller organizations may lack the ability to enforce standards.
Safe and tamper-resistant IoT devices, such as air quality and other sensors integrated in the intelligent lighting network of an urban area, for example, could provide these agencies with constant and reliable monitoring and real-time reports of Real carbon emissions and other polluting activities on the sites participating in carbon reduction plans. This would help public / private partnerships enforce the rules even in the absence of a true agreement on global climate change
Given the richness of IoT technology today, the world could quickly move on to a connected and responsive network available to everyone. Researchers are proposing a standardized network of environmental sensors driven by IoT technology.
Access to a verified and consistent source of carbon and climate data could help advance consensus and make policies easier to design and implement. Managing climate change with technology is only the first step. Public / private partnerships must grow and mature, and the commitment of policy makers to invest in solutions must be intensified.
The Internet of things, meanwhile, will do more than keep track. It will provide actionable climate data. It will reduce waste by improving the flow of people, energy, goods and information. And it will continue to adapt, as researchers and leaders reach a new consensus on what actions we should take to protect against rising temperatures and dangerous weather conditions.