Thursday, July 18, 2024

The role of green technology in promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation


All over the world, societies have been subjected to climate change disruptions and most of these variations have reflected natural phenomena in the past decades. From periodic volcano eruptions to solar radiation fluctuations. Currently, the majority of the effects of climate change result from human actions, particularly the burning of fossil fuels. The effects differ from one location to another where global warming is greater at high latitudes than in the tropics. Some areas experience intense rainfall while others have prolonged dry periods. How each society responds, depends on its capacity to prepare for these disruptions and to respond.

Undoubtedly, green technology will be the leading driver for climate mitigation and the transition to green energy. However, technology is not enough. Reducing the overall energy demand and adopting nature-based solutions should be incorporated as an integral part of the world’s decarbonization plans. Green technology is still in its infancy stage, though many nations around the world have cited its use as an imperative to help meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and transition from reliance on fossil fuels.

Below are examples of emerging and widely known technologies:

Vertical farming is a relatively new and innovative agricultural practice that can be a solution to the impending food crisis. Instead of farmers growing crops horizontally, they opt to do so in vertical layers. In this method, the plants will require little or no soil at all resulting in an increase in water efficiency. Vertical gardens are installed along a wall. This helps to isolate high temperatures presented by climate change, significantly saving energy, air conditioning, and heating. Practicing vertical farming guarantees consistent output and boosts crop yields based on elements such as humidity, temperature, and artificial intelligence. They can be installed in cities or buildings promoting convenience as food is produced closer to the consumers, reducing emissions and transportation costs. However, the maintenance costs may be relatively high limiting the farms to leafy greens, salad leaves, and herbs.

Composting is among the easiest, most inexpensive, and best methods of recycling. It entails converting organic materials into mulch, a nutrient-rich soil amendment. By turning food scraps into compost in our communities, we reduce the volumes of materials that may be disposed into landfills and prevent greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere. The mulch can be used in farms to build healthier soil, prevent soil erosion, conserve water, and improve plant growth. As a result, farmers can reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage. A technology that directly enables the mitigation of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities, cutting down the root cause of global warming. It involves the separation of the flue gas from CO2 by the use of a chemical solvent. During the pre-combustion phase, the burnt fuel is converted into a gas mixture of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. When the CO2 is separated, the remaining hydrogen mixture is used as fuel. An alternative is oxy-fuel technology which involves burning fuel with almost pure oxygen to produce steam and carbon dioxide where the latter is captured. Once the CO2 has been captured, it is compressed into a liquid state and transported via pipeline, ship or rail. It can then be injected into deep geological formations to be stored permanently in depleted oil and gas reservoirs.

Green or smart buildings are designed to be self-sufficient. From its electric power grid, and water system to energy generation. Solar panels are utilized as an energy source where the front is structured to produce photovoltaic energy while the rear generates heat by means of an exchanger allowing many households to relish free hot water. The highly insulated and efficient windows aid in reducing heat loss, lowering the cost of energy bills.

In the transportation sector, electric vehicles have been widely accepted as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in most developed countries. Instead of fossil fuels, they are entirely powered by electricity in the form of lithium-ion batteries that are rechargeable and have high energy intensity to power automobiles for long distances. Though they are efficient in the long term, these batteries require the extraction of lithium and cobalt from the earth’s surface, a technique that requires large amounts of energy and water.

Though green technology has many advantages so does it have drawbacks that need to be considered. An example is creation of renewable energy sources may result in the destruction of habitats or the relocation of people. Therefore, it is essential to ensure access to all, and embody inclusion and fairness at the forefront of putting it into practice, especially for the underprivileged community who might lack funds to invest in these technologies.

Dr. Edward Mungai
Dr. Edward Mungai
The writer, Dr. Edward Mungai, is a global sustainability expert. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at Impact Africa Consulting Ltd (IACL), a leading sustainability and strategy advisory in Africa. He is also the Chief Editor at Africa Sustainability Matters. He can be contacted via

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