Going Green

Technology’s Role In Fighting Climate Change

s global leaders gathered in Dubai this week for COP28, the United Nations’ climate conference, a global hackathon was exploring how quantum computing can contribute to solving some of the world’s toughest challenges, including sustainability.

The winners of the hackathon, which was organized by French quantum company PASQAL and attracted more than 800 candidates with 75 proposals from 25+ countries, demonstrated how the cutting-edge technology can, among other things, be used for renewable energy forecasting and optimizing the layout of windfarms.

The application of new technologies to abate climate change is needed more than ever. A new report released this week by the World Economic Forum entitled The Net-Zero Industry Tracker 2023, published in collaboration with Accenture, takes stock of progress towards net-zero emissions for eight industries – steel, cement, aluminum, ammonia, excluding other chemicals, oil and gas, aviation, shipping and trucking – which depend on fossil fuels for 90% of their energy demand and pose some of the most technological and capital-intensive decarbonization challenges.

These emission-intensive sectors, which account for more than 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, are not aligned with the trajectory to reach net zero by 2050, says the report.  Over the past three years, absolute emissions have grown on average by 8% due to increased activity and demand and all sectors in scope depend on fossil fuels, most with over 90% reliance.

Transitioning these industries to a Net Zero future will require a collective investment of approximately $13.5 trillion, prioritizing the electrification of low to medium temperature industrial processes, says the report.  That amount is needed to scale up the essential technologies and sustainable infrastructure, but investments aren’t enough, says the report. They must be complemented by policies and incentives that can help the industries make the switch while ensuring access to affordable and reliable resources that are critical for economic growth.

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About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.