Can digital technology innovations help fight climate change better?

Can digital technology innovations help fight climate change better?
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Climate change continues to wreak havoc worldwide—the scorching temperatures, melting glaciers, increasing sea level, frequent weather extremes, and loss of ecosystems stand testimony to this devastation. Climate change is not only destroying the world's biodiversity but can also result in nearly 2.5 lakh additional deaths per year between 2030-2050, as reported by the World Health Organisation.
While it may seem like a hopeless situation with no turning back, human innovation and ingenuity know no bounds. Take digital technology, for example. A century ago, it had no practical application in humans’ lives. Today, it has become ubiquitous to being a modern human. It’s the most-rapidly spreading innovation in human history, covering 50% of the developing world’s population within just two decades.
Now, experts and global leaders are exploring whether this modern revolution helps fight some of the pressing global challenges of our times.

Digital technology techniques combating climate change

The digital world will be the future as these intangible networks will dominate every aspect of our life. But, can they combat the climate change crisis and carbon emissions, especially when these technologies continue to be highly carbon-intensive themselves?
The natural environment is changing as a result of rapid digitisation. It's altering how we view, comprehend, and interact with our environment. It's also affecting the way we deal with environmental challenges. The digital economy, for example, has reduced the burden on paper currency substantially in the past decade, eliminating a major chunk of associated carbon emissions. On the other hand, digital currencies like cryptocurrencies entail hundreds of kilograms of carbon emissions per transaction.
Digital technology has the potential to aid sustainable transitions to a low-carbon society by facilitating emissions reductions across the global economy and limiting emissions generated by computing. They can manage and minimise their footprint through transformational changes, resulting in a more significant shift beyond optimisation. These intangible networks can aid the evolution of low-carbon living and working methods, allowing people to adopt a nature-friendly lifestyle that includes everyday activities.

Digital Twin technology

Tech wizards use the term ‘digital twin’ for any virtual digital representation that serves as the real-time digital counterpart of a physical object or process. This hot trend in digital technology has significant implications for the global environment, with capabilities such as reducing 20% of carbon emissions associated with the built environment.
Digital twin technology has the potential to play a vital role in decarbonising our world as the tech assists in predicting a product's or process's performance and optimising all design, construction, operations, and management elements, before the real-world roll-out.

For instance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) uses GEMS Air as one of several new digital tools to track the condition of the environment in real-time at the global, national, and local levels. This digital tech software was also used in New Delhi to monitor the AQI when a thick layer of smog engulfed our capital city during winter last year. The software helped the Indian public monitor real-time AQI and assisted in taking the necessary precautionary measures. Similar technologies for carbon emission reduction are also in the works.
Digital technologies may not be a panacea to the global environmental crisis, but it sure holds the potential to assist better than any other tools in our arsenal to combat the impending catastrophe.