Pollution is on the rise in the world. While most companies already know that contaminating the air is an issue, many have yet to adjust to the changes required to fix it. Computer companies and companies that manufacture parts for computers still use many overseas factories that are located in areas in which pollution laws are minimal. Computer companies do this because it is cheaper to manufacture parts when you do not have to conform to regulations. However, these actions are what is causing our future to be grim. Back in 2007, the IPCC states “Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.” This is a clear statement that in the future, companies will have no choice but to conform. While future changes in our climate become more and more real, the same companies will have to figure out renewable ways to continue doing what they are doing. Ways that many already exist on the planet but just have not been adapted to in every part of the world.
The biggest future impact most computer companies are worried about is the economic costs of changing all their productions to be in accordance with clear air regulations, such as the Clean Air Act in the America. However, as it turns out, companies should in fact follow and adapt to these changes readily with a bright future ahead of them. According to Gina McCarthy, writer for The Huffington Post, “Every dollar we’ve invested to comply with the Clean Air Act has returned $4 to $8 dollars in economic benefits.” What this is saying is that Computer companies should not be afraid of adapting to the solution. While initial investment may be high, over time it will all pay off and even be beneficial in an economic sense in the future.
This figure is a chart showing projected surface temperature change in the future.
Plant Hardiness Zones
Today, climate change is affecting our planet, but also affect major companies and industries . As can be seen by the drought affecting California many restrictions are being applied to individuals and other companies. As a resident within the Silicon Valley, it is important to understand the future impacts of plant hardiness zones and climate change that can cause problems within the companies that power the Silicon Valley.
With the computer industry being already damaging to the environment, there can be plenty of restrictions applied if Plant Hardiness Zone changes. Preserving plant hardiness zone is important for California, especially, since they’re a major exporter of agricultural goods across the country. If lesser crops were suitable for the temperature of California, this would hurt California economically since California agriculture generates about $37.5 billion annually, which is more than any other state (California Food, n.d.). Over time the computer industry can cause a climate change due to the carbon dioxide being released in the process of manufacturing computer chips. Computer chip manufacturing can also influence acid rain which can destroy crops and damage the ecosystems within water reservoirs. In addition to water, manufacturing computer chips can use up to 10 gallons of water (Smarter Living, n.d.). Water is becoming more scarce in California and is essential for crops since they require moisture, which California is lacking. To preserve the Plant Hardiness Zone of California companies like AMD, a major manufacturer in microchips with a plant in California, should look to relocate their infrastructure or to operate on regulations to maximize profitability.
Regardless of the possible restrictions and impacts that companies may face for operating a computer manufacturing plant in California, Apple is actually looking to have a manufacturing plant in Northern California. This can threaten the Plant Hardiness Zone, thus causing the company to possibly operate under regulations which would hurt Apple financially. Apple, however, is going to spend over $850 million dollars to construct a solar power plant in Northern California (Guynn, 2015). This is greatly beneficial since solar power generates electricity without influencing acid rain or climate change. Apple’s decision to operate their infrastructure in California using their own power plant can be seen as a regulation due to climate change, but possibly the most ideal way more manufacturing plants should operate if threatened by climate change.
In conclusion, to preserve the Plant Hardiness Zone of places like California, computer companies and more alike would more likely be punished through restrictions that would make things more difficult or extremely costly.
When the average global temperatures increase, the threat of a heat stroke increases. A heat stroke is a condition caused by failure of body’s temperature control system when exposed to high temperatures. It is a serious injury because it can cause brain damage, fainting, and exhaustion of the body. For example, in July 1995, there was a heatwave in Chicago that killed 514 people and hurt 3300 people; those who are most vulnerable are the elderly and people who had an illness during the heatwave (Hales et al., 2015).
The graph above shows the increase in temperatures in future years with different scenarios.
The effects of sea level rise due to climate change on Silicon Valley tech companies.
Major negative effects of climate change are here now and they’re only getting worse. One of the most pronounced effects of climate change has been melting of masses of ice around the world (“Consequences of Climate Change on the Oceans,” n.d, para. 1). The result of melting of glaciers and ice sheets adds water to the oceans thus in-turn contributing to sea level rise.
Apparently, this a threat to many tech companies like Google, Yahoo, Dell, Facebook, LinkedIn, Intuit, Intel, Cisco, Citrix, Oracle and other. The main problem with all this companies relating to climate change is that they all have headquarters situated in Silicon Valley, the hot spot for tech companies, but is also becoming a hot spot for sea level rise (Treacy, 2012). This is because Silicon valley is situated 3 to 10 feet below sea level which made it vulnerable to the effect of climate change. According to the Eric Mruz, manager of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, neighbor of Facebook said that Facebook’s headquarters beside San Francisco “is pretty much surrounded by tidal waters,”” (Treacy, 2012).
Facebook current have an 8-floor levee to hold back the tides, but with sea level rise projections skyrocketing and The Army Corp of Engineers conducted a study that found that a large storm coupled with sea level rise could easily top the levees around Silicon Valley (Treacy, 2012). These tech companies will definitely have to do something about it, if they want to protect their properties.
McCarthy, G. (2013, December 6). The Value of U.S-China Clean Air and Climate Cooperation. Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-mccarthy/the-value-of-uschina-clea_b_4398280.html
Projections of Future Changes in Climate. (2007, January 1). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-projections-of.html
California Food Production is discussed at Keep California Farming.org. (2014, February 28). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://keepcaliforniafarming.org/california-water-crisis/farming-california-news/california-food-production/
Guynn, U. (2015, February 11). Apple to build $848 million solar plant. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/02/10/apple-848-million-solar-farm-first-solar-tim-cook/23192299/
Smarter Living: Stuff. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://www.nrdc.org/living/stuff/your-computers-lifetime-journey.asp
Future Climate Change. (2014). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/future.html
Global Warming Effects on Air Temperature. (2011). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-effects/air-temperature.html
Environmental Monitoring News – Data Center. (2013, July 16). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.itwatchdogs.com/environmental-monitoring-news/data-center/server-room-temperature-on-the-rise,-study-finds-472652
Consequences of Climate Change on the Oceans. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2015, from http://www.climate.org/topics/sea-level/
Treacy, M. (2012, December 12). Silicon Valley Faces Effects of Climate Change. Retrieved April 18, 2015, from http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/silicon-valley-facing-effects-climate-change.html