Global Warming, Christmas and the Internet of Things

Once upon a time there was a little Shepherd who lived in a town near the woods …”. So it starts Peter and the Wolf, one of the tales I read when I was a child. As every tale, Peter and the Wolf, had a moral that now comes to my mind while I am writing this post. As Peter was advised about the Wolf, we have also been advised about Global Warming. Did we learned Peter´s lesson ?

This year no one can avoid to say that “the Weather” has changed and everyone can notice their effects.

  • The Chinese capital Beijing was on Christmas Day enveloped by this year’s worst air pollution with the smog level crossing the most hazardous mark, two days after a red alert for foul weather was lifted. Is this a consequence of Global Warming? In part, it is.
  • 2 dead and 150,000 people evacuated in Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil by floods on Christmas day. Is this a consequence of Global Warming? In part, it is.
  • Forty deaths in the United States by bad weather. Is this a consequence of Global Warming? In part, it is.

I fear not even the IBM Watson with its immense power of predictive analysis can tell us what will happen from now on.

How Much More Will Earth Warm?

To further explore the causes and effects of global warming and to predict future warming, scientists build climate models to simulate the responses and interactions of the oceans and atmosphere, and to account for changes to the land surface, both natural and human-induced. They comply with fundamental laws of physics—conservation of energy, mass, and momentum—and account for dozens of factors that influence Earth’s climate.  These considerations mean that people won’t immediately see the impact of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“Even if greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized today, the planet would continue to warm by about 0.6°C over the next century because of greenhouses gases already in the atmosphere.”

France hosted the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The conference was crucial because the expected outcome was a new international agreement on climate change, applicable to all, to keep global warming below 2°C.

Could the Paris agreement be the beginning of the end for global warming denial? . Around 2020, as temperatures will continue rising, the world will begin the first round of assessing how effective the Paris climate accord has been. Then may we see if actions all nations have been effectives and we could feel very different indeed.

Companies have a key role to play in protecting our planet. As of December 1, 154 companies have joined the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, a way for companies to demonstrate a commitment to climate action and to voice support for a strong outcome to the Paris climate negotiations. RE100 is a collaborative initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity, working to massively increase corporate demand for renewable energy. The private sector accounts for around half of the world’s electricity consumption. Switching this demand to renewables will accelerate the transformation of the global energy market and aid the transition to a low carbon economy.

My congratulations to the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power and who have encouraged others to get involved.

Why Christmas Affect Global Warming?

Up to a third more electricity is used over the festive season compared to average days in winter. That’s no reason to feel guilty, but it is a reason to think about how we can use energy in an intelligent way, without making sacrifices.

How much electricity do Christmas lights use?  Not everyone is aware that display size and choice of bulbs, whether incandescent or LED, will influence the energy use. In Germany, many measures have been introduced under the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency.

“When it comes to enhancing energy efficiency, everyone can help”.

I had described in “Smart Christmas in Smart Cities“ post some challenges that smart cities have during these family and festivities days and I had suggested some ideas to keep our cities safe and welcoming.

The Internet of Things to the rescue

We must assume that there is “No Quick Fix for Global Warming ‘Without Cutting Down Carbon Emissions‘”.   Soot particles, methane and fluorocarbons originating from fossil fuels, coal mines, cows and diesel engines are called short-lived climate forcers (SLCF) due to their brief lifetime of a few days to a decade. On the other hand, carbon dioxide lasts thousands of years in the atmosphere, trapping heat and warming the planet.

“Although near-term action on short-lived climate forcers can help reduce warming in the coming decades and also provides other societal benefits, such as cleaner air, it will not buy us time for delaying the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions which are required to stabilize the climate at safe levels.”  Joeri Rogelj, ETH Zurich’s climate scientist

Can Internet of Things Technology Really Stop Climate Change?.  David Stephenson, in this post, present a list of potential IoT uses to reduce global warming compiled by Cisco’s Dr. Rick Huijbregts.  A few IoT technologies (Smart Grid System, Smart Thermostats, Smart Traffic Systems and Parking Lots, Smart Trash Cans, Air Quality Egg, Invisible Track for Forest- Cover Conservation) already being used to prevent climate change.  Companies like Libelium, a pioneer in IoT, have developed a new particle matter sensor that uses light scattering theory and particle counting technology and can accurately detect the number of particles in its surroundings to provide useful reference data for environmental improvement.

“The Internet of Things is already offering unique opportunities for addressing issues like clean water, landfill waste, deforestation, and air pollution and ultimately will help reduce the environmental effects of human activities”.

We need to start discussing, researching and establishing “An IoT global network of Smart Environment Things” with scenarios where climate change occurs. Once Governments are committed in Global Warming, they should drive that innovators and companies will start developing new IoT technologies, solutions and services, to track and monitor climate changes, monitor the combustion of gases, control the CO2 emissions of factories, monitor the pollution emitted by cars and toxic gases generated in farms; measure the snow level in real time; monitor of soil moisture, vibrations and earth density to detect dangerous patterns in land conditions or improve earthquake early detection, among many others.

If indeed we have learned from the moral of the story of Peter and the Wolf, then the IoT Global network of Smart Environment Things can and must be the centerpiece of the drastic changes that we will have to make collectively and individually to cope with the Global Warming challenge.

What are your expectations, wishes or requests about Global Warming for 2016?

Thanks everyone for your Likes, Comments and Shares.




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