Ways to Reinvent Technology Adoption for Climate Change
Technology Adoption Rates and the Greenhouse Gas No-Return Threshold
Frank Raczon — a writer for Construction Equipment who has won numerous awards in his career, including nods from the Construction Writers Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and BtoB magazine — is taken aback by how slowly the excavation and construction industry is adopting technology. “All the great benefits of technology are only as good as technology’s adoption rate,” Raczon recently said at Trimble Dimensions 2016 user conference in Las Vegas.
“Every survey CE does, formal or informal, along with the sum of discussions and interviews with readers, points to a head-scratching low adoption rate on technology such as telematics, machine control, drones, and the like—I won’t even delve into the world of semi-autonomous and autonomous machines,” he wrote in a CE article titled, To the Future Too Slowly.
While Raczon addressed “Time savings, additional earnings and margin, lower operating costs and overhead, safety,” he failed to address emissions and fuel efficiency technology, maybe the two most pressing issues in the world of excavation and trucking. Arguably, emissions and fuel efficiency are the two most pressing issues in the world.
With well over 40 billion tons of CO2 emissions alone being released into the atmosphere each year, the world’s failure to adopt and implement emissions and fuel efficiency technology that is proven to reduce many greenhouse gases by more than 50 percent — and others by more than 60 percent — the “lollygagging” is mind boggling.
When Will the Effects of Atmospheric Pollution Become Irreversible?
As far back as 2014, the United Nations Reported that continued inaction will result in irreversible climate change. Evaluating information provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN determined that permanent effects may have already occurred.
“In order to keep global temperatures from rising above two degrees Celsius beyond preindustrial levels—the point at which experts predict the planet will experience the irreversible effects of climate change—net global emissions must plummet 40 to 70 percent by 2050, hitting zero by the end of the century,” the UN determined.
But, explains the IPCC’s report, there is still time to maintain what we have, “To limit warming to below two [degrees Celsius], the world would have to constrain carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million (ppm) by 2100, according to the report. The concentration is currently hovering at 400 ppm and growing quickly.
The Time Is Now for Adopting Fuel-Saving and Emissions-Reducing Devices
Again, in order to prevent catastrophic, irreversible effects, emissions need to drop by 40 percent to 70 percent in the next 32 years. The diesel fuel industry already has the technology to partially accomplish that in the Rentar Fuel Catalyst.
It is shocking that diesel fuel savings of between eight percent and 20 percent is not enough to entice the excavation, trucking and trades industries to lower their emissions, but again, these industries are slow to adopt technology.