Solutions to Computer Production Pollution
As we know, pollution is a huge issue that many companies are failing to tackle because of the enormous cost they must incur in order to fix this problem. However, according to the epa.gov summary of cost and benefits of the Clean Air Act, companies need to be willing to take this cost for the future. The benefits clearly outweigh the costs when the Clean Air Act was implemented in the USA(50 billion in costs to about 1900 billion in benefits), however, many companies manufacturing computer technologies outsourced and went overseas to avoid these costs. The solution these same companies should take is to implement regulations like the Clean Air Act and maybe some that are even stricter upon themselves. Instead of requiring governments to force these companies to comply, they should take it on themselves to make cleaner pollution a standard. It is impossible to fully remove pollution as a byproduct of production of these computer parts, however, we can improve the quality of the pollution that is produced. Companies need to be willing to take the utilitarian approach and take the costs upfront. This is the solution that will benefit the most amount of people, the whole world.
The second, and probably more realistic option, is that other countries will being to see the benefits and necessity of cleaner air and push these regulations on the companies. Eventually, there will be nowhere for these companies to outsource to because laws will be similar in every country requiring this cleaner pollution standards. In 2013, Kate Galbraith wrote an article for the New York Times saying, “The Chinese government is working on the problem(pollution) and recently announced new limits on pollutants along with the promise of increased monitoring.” If China, one of the world’s biggest economies right now, is working on taking measures to solve the problem, other countries, like Taiwan, will not be far behind. What this means is that even if companies do not make it industry standard to have this clean pollution, they may not have a choice in the end. The only thing we can hope for is that countries force these regulations on them before it is too late.
As the computer industry continues to grow and climate change grows, there must be more influence in adapting new methods that will overall help the environment. Luckily with new emerging technologies such as electric cars, solar panels, and airborne wind turbines are helping power the world today. This is an adapting to climate change since burning fossil fuels for energy is inevitably causing the world to become warmer.
Adapting to electric cars and hybrids are becoming popular alternatives to saving money on gas, but ultimately they’re overall beneficial to the environment. Although there have been controversial debates stating that electric vehicles are extremely pollutant, research has shown that the national average for Tesla’s Model S CO2 emissions is 163 grams per mile, while gas cars emit 400 grams per mile (Noland, 2013). Additionally, cars contribute averagely around 8,320 carbon per year (American Forests, 2015). If more people start using electric or hybrid cars, there’ll be a great reduction to CO2 emissions which will help mitigate climate change.
Secondly, the world is heavily powered by fossil fuels which is non-renewable and causes climate change through outputting CO2. Research has shown that coal burning used to power homes for electricity accounts for 37% of all CO2 emissions, being the highest overall contributor to carbon emissions (EPA, 2015). With the use of solar panels, this can drastically help reduce the emissions produced for powering homes and reduce climate change. Places like California where there’s rarely rain and has plenty of sunshine would be most ideal for anyone to purchase a solar panel to power their home. Solar panels definitely help cut carbon footprint of homes since solar panels produce about 50g of CO2 per kWh compared to coal’s 975g of CO2 per kWh (Burkart, 2010). Tech companies like Apple, located in California, already have plans for using solar panels for their facilities which will help mitigate climate change.
Additionally, one of the newer methods in energy production is airborne wind turbines. This is a great adaption to climate warming due to the fact that they’re harmless to the environment, work perfectly in areas that are dry, is renewable, and can power up to 12 homes (Patterson, 2014). Google, a tech company in California, is also focusing on creating these wind turbines at this very moment while other industries are trying to create their own too. Airborne wind turbines produce energy similar to wind turbines stationed on the ground, by using the wind to create a windmill effect. Airborne wind turbines function great in areas such as California because there wouldn’t be too much damaging weather such as rain.
In conclusion, due to climate change places all over the world are innovating technology that will benefit our environment. For example, due to the drought in California, the population of California is adapting effectively by using less water and companies in California are starting to use renewable resources of energy such as solar or wind.
Silicon Valley tech companies as a whole are soon to be experiencing the negative effect of climate change. How it effect these tech companies is the rise in sea level can pose a severe risk to $21 billion in property and livelihoods in the affected areas since companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and others are situated near the sea. Scientists estimate that the sea level in California could rise 16 inches in the next 40 years and 55 inches by 2100 (Feinstein, 2012). As Feinstein pointed out in her San Jose visit, the impact would be huge. In response to the change in climate, some effort were try to mitigate the rise in sea level by the use of physical barriers like the levee (Nguyen, 2007). By building a levee, residents and tech companies can somehow protect themselves and their property from the overflowing of sea water. Another possible action are regional restoration. With the threat of sea level rise looming, major wetland restoration projects can aim to build ecological resilience and buffer the impacts of storms on the shoreline since the gradual slope of a marsh can reduce the energy of a wave (Tam, 2014).
The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020. (2011, March 1). Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/cleanairactbenefits/feb11/summaryreport.pdf
Galbraith, K. (2013, October 30). China’s Clean-Air Drive Likely to Take a Long Time. Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/31/business/energy-environment/chinas-clean-air-drive-likely-to-take-a-long-time.html?_r=0
Burkart, K. (2010, July 17). How much CO2 does one solar panel create? Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/blogs/how-much-co2-does-one-solar-panel-create
Carbon Emissions from Cars | American Forests. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2015, from https://www.americanforests.org/a-carbon-conundrum/
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Greenhouse Gases Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases.html
Noland, D. (2013, May 31). Does The Tesla Model S Electric Car Pollute More Than An SUV? Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1084440_does-the-tesla-model-s-electric-car-pollute-more-than-an-suv/page-2
Patterson, T. (2014, May 12). Meet the BAT. Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/12/tech/innovation/big-idea-airborne-wind-turbines/
Nguyen, N. (2014, June 16). Sea Rise Will Bring Severe Floods to Silicon Valley | Climate Central. Retrieved May 13, 2015, from http://www.climatecentral.org/news/sea-level-rise-floods-silicon-valley-17565
Tam, L. (2014, April 1). Taking Action on Sea Level Rise. Retrieved May 13, 2015, from http://www.spur.org/publications/article/2014-04-10/taking-action-sea-level-rise
Feinstein, D. (2012, May 21). United States Senator Dianne Feinstein. Retrieved May 13, 2015, from http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2012/4/mercury-news-editorial-silicon-valley-must-protect-against-catastrophic-sea-level-rise