Green Technology - Where Are We Now?
INF/103 Computer Literacy
Instructor Sean Kenney
January 21, 2013
What is green technology? Why do we need it? Those are some of the basic questions you ask yourself when introduced to the topic. Green technology is the use of “science to safeguard the natural environment and resources as well as reducing the human impact on the Earth” (Green technology, 2008). According to Middle East, the average temperature of the earth has increased 1 degree in the last 10 years. While 1 degree does not sound like a lot, it is enough to bring about “enormous changes in the environment” (Atzori, 2011). Although the rationale behind this message is clear that “if we want to avoid potentially dangerous climate change we must cut emissions of carbon dioxide” (Mullins, 2011), I do not believe it will be the driving force for the development and implementation of these technologies. President Obama attempted to make green technology a priority in his administration when he took office in 2008. Since then the “green momentum has seriously stalled, at least in the public sector. The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 ended without an agreement . A skeptical congress, plus the ongoing economic downturn, have made environmental regulations a tough sell” (Yarett, 2011). But where government has had limited success agreeing upon and implementing green technology, the free market is now and will continue to be picking up the reigns. It makes economic and environmental sense to businesses to focus on cost savings and the economy of green technology. “We may, in truth, have to forget about the world’s governments and the folly of their short-sighted and parochial ways, and instead seek technological fixes. If going green can be made profitable, it will become a no-brainer. Self-interest may serve the greater good where nation interest does not” (The decade is not lost yet, 2011). One state in the U.S. embracing green technologies mostly due to this “personal interest” is California. Largely because of its problems with air pollution, California is mandating change at a rapid pace. Body
While the Federal government seems stalled in the area of green technologies, the state of California is going full steam ahead. California, mostly acting from self-interest, is enacting environmental regulations with a goal towards a greener environment. As a result of these new regulations, they are enforcing improvements in efficiency in everything from appliances to pool heaters, basically almost anything that needs power. While the rest of the nation has power demands flying off the grid, California has been able to stabilize its power use. “Utilities . . . [had to] provide one-fifth of their power from renewable by 2010, which will jump to one-third by 2020” (Grunwarld, 2009). Kaiser Permanente, an Oakland, California, based health care company looked at “Where do we get the biggest payback?” (Mitchell, 2011) Kaiser was able to shut off 20 computer room air conditioners in three data centers by “…put[ing] to work a lot of little tricks, but the biggest win was sealing up air leaks” (Mitchell, 2011). While the remainder of the United States lags far behind California’s efforts towards a greener future, other countries are fully embracing green technology. One of the exceptions to this skepticism and procrastination about the implementation do green technologies is the Middle East. With countries becoming leery of nuclear energy after the disaster in Japan, the governments of these countries are pushing for renewable energy. “With an average 8.8 hours of sunshine a day, the Middle East is a prime candidate to lead the renewable energy (RE) revolution, something of a paradox for the region already blessed with approximately 60% and 45% respectively of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves” (Atzori, 2011). They have decided that “diversifying...