Tech helps overcome the barrier of transition to net zero
The transition to a net-zero economy is no longer a choice, but a necessity. As governments across the globe set their sights on reaching ambitious carbon reduction targets, tech start-ups are playing an increasingly crucial role in accelerating progress towards a more sustainable future. By developing innovative solutions that reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability, these companies are powering the transition.
One of the most promising start-ups in this field is Carbon Engineering, a Canadian company that has developed a process for removing carbon dioxide from the air. Their Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology captures CO2 directly from the atmosphere, which can then be stored underground or used to make products such as fuel. According to the company, their technology can remove one tonne of CO2 from the air for $100 USD, making it an affordable solution for mitigating climate change.
Another start-up that is making waves in the renewable energy sector is SunCulture, a Kenyan company that has developed solar-powered irrigation systems for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. By replacing diesel-powered pumps with solar-powered ones, SunCulture's technology reduces carbon emissions and helps farmers save money on fuel costs. In addition, the company's innovative financing model allows farmers to purchase the systems on a pay-as-you-go basis, making them accessible to even the poorest farmers.
But it's not just about individual companies making changes - the role of business in shaping policy frameworks for a net-zero transition cannot be overstated. The UN's annual Conference of the Parties (COP) provides a crucial platform for businesses to engage with policymakers and advocate for the changes necessary to accelerate progress towards net-zero.
At COP26 in Glasgow last year, over 400 companies representing a combined market capitalization of $14 trillion USD committed to setting science-based emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement. This is a significant step forward in ensuring that the private sector is aligned with the necessary climate action. Proper scientific targets and empirical measurement of emission reductions is the only way to avoid corporate ‘green-washing’ which has become all too common.
Looking ahead, COP28 in the UAE later this year will provide an opportunity for businesses to further demonstrate their commitment to the transition to a net-zero economy. It is expected that the conference will focus on key areas such as energy, transport, and agriculture. Once again the forum provides a platform for businesses to showcase their innovative solutions to the world.
In the agriculture sector, start-ups such as FarmCrowdy and Hello Tractor are using technology to increase the efficiency and sustainability of farming practices. FarmCrowdy, a Nigerian start-up, uses digital platforms to connect smallholder farmers with investors, providing them with the resources they need to improve their yields and reduce their carbon footprint. Meanwhile, Hello Tractor, a Kenyan startup, has developed an IoT-powered tractor-sharing platform that allows smallholder farmers to access affordable and sustainable farm machinery, reducing the need for costly and polluting diesel-powered tractors.
In the energy sector, start-ups such as Limejump and Zenobe Energy are developing innovative solutions to enable a faster transition to renewable energy. Limejump, a UK-based start-up, uses machine learning algorithms to optimize the dispatch of renewable energy sources, allowing them to be integrated more effectively into the grid. Zenobe Energy, another UK-based start-up, is developing battery storage solutions that help to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and increase the efficiency of renewable energy systems.
In the transportation sector, start-ups such as Arrival and Lilium are developing electric and autonomous vehicles that have the potential to revolutionise the way we move around. Arrival, a UK-based start-up, is developing electric delivery vehicles that are designed to be affordable, sustainable, and customizable. Meanwhile, Lilium, a German start-up, is developing electric air taxis that have the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions from air travel.
Overall, these companies demonstrate how technology is being used to bridge the climate gap in sectors such as agriculture, energy, and transportation. By developing fresh solutions that reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability, these start-ups are helping to accelerate progress towards a more sustainable future, and they will undoubtedly play a critical role in the transition to a net-zero economy. As we look towards COP28, it is essential that businesses continue to showcase their innovative solutions and work with policymakers to accelerate progress towards a more sustainable future.
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