A couple of weeks ago, I presented at the Technology Ventures Conference in Cambridge, UK on “Sustainability, the Soul of Technology”. It was a challenging presentation for me as I included lots of new material and research in front of a crowd of academics, investors and entrepreneurs. I like these kind of challenges and present new material on stage.
Sustainability is such a broad topic and there is so much to tell and do in all its different area’s. Limiting global warming to no more than two degrees has become the internationally accepted target for climate policy. Scientists think the risks of climate change increase as temperatures rise. Two degrees isn’t a ‘safe’ level of climate change, but nor is it a red line with only chaos beyond. The world has already warmed by 0.85 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average and if emissions stay high we’re on course for more like three to five degrees by 2100. In order to get back on track, emissions need to peak and then fall by between 40 and 70 per cent by 2050 with unabated fossil fuel burning almost entirely phased out by 2100, according the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In short, this means we need to get rid of the fossil-fuel economy, powered by coal, oil and gas during the past three centuries and move towards a sustainable economy. Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in. Things are worse than we think, but they can’t really talk about it.
The Dutch government was ordered recently to cut carbon emissions in a landmark ruling stating to reduce emissions by 25% within five years to protect its citizens from climate change in world’s first climate liability suit.
In technology, we see a lot of promising signs of leaders showing examples (Googleand Apple) and entrepreneurs like Elon Musk opening new potential with solar powered electric vehicles and home batteries.
Startups like Airbnb and Nest have created a real ’smart’ partnership last year to install free thermostats in the homes of the Airbnb hosts in order to make the rental service more environmentally friendly and to frame the company’s new eco-friendly branding. It’s also a shrewd business move for Nest.
Yeloha, a new startup matching people with solar and people without solar, Yeloha is like Airbnb, except the excess capacity on offer isn’t a room in someone’s house, but spare cells on their roof. It’s called Solar Sharing.
Transfix – the Uber for trucks – a logistics company matching drivers and loads through an app, making the whole truck transport sector more efficient and sustainable.
Note there’s also an Uber for Trash startup movement coming up.
SolarKiosk enables and empowers the sustainable economic development of Base-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) communities worldwide through the provision of clean energy services, quality products and sustainable solutions. The Berlin-based startup has pioneered and scaled up a solar-powered technology design and an inclusive business model that are tailored for the specific needs of BoP communities. It includes local entrepreneurs as franchise partners who provide clean energy services, affordable solar products and quality consumer goods.
In the near future we can imagine an open-source Energy Internet where citizens will move into microgrid living and start producing their own sustainable living, as well as distribute their positive energy output back into the grid, potentially creating a global Energy Internet.
All that and a lot more you can view in my “Sustainability, the Soul of Technology” presentation.
Watch the complete video of the presentation.