Virtual Conservation: Moving to virtual modes can save much-needed fuel and energy

By: |
January 7, 2021 6:30 AM

Although the gains may not be transformative given how the world is teetering on the brink of a climate disaster.

Technology that props virtual events at present will have to undergo a drastic reimagining too if this kind of future for conferences and events is to materialise. Representative Image

Moving to virtual modes for events and conferences can help save the environment. In less than a week, one of the largest electronics events in the world, the CES, will be going online for the first time. You would expect that technology companies would be quick to adapt to virtual modes, but the lack of touch and feel associated with product launches is eroding the value of product launches. However, there are some significant benefits to avoiding in-person interactions—an article in Nature contends that if we can move to virtual events and cut down on travel, it can reduce air pollution, save the environment and keep the skies blue.

Although the gains may not be transformative given how the world is teetering on the brink of a climate disaster—global warming is already on 2-3oC warming (over pre-industrial levels) pathway—scientists believe it would positively contribute to reducing pollution. A study presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, California, in December 2019, by Milan Klower, an Oxford University climate scientist, found that 28,000 scientists attending the conference had travelled a total of 285 million km, emitting 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Klower further established that if the meeting was to occur biennially and only a third of the scientists were to attend the meeting virtually, it would reduce travel footprint by 90%. Technology that props virtual events at present will have to undergo a drastic reimagining too if this kind of future for conferences and events is to materialise.

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