It's 2040 and the Internet of Everything (IoE) is no longer just a twinkle in the eyes of the tech industry. IoT and AI technologies that emerged in the 2020s are now so widespread that sensors have become integrated into every aspect of people's lives. Households and governments alike experience full traceability, measurement, accountability, and transparency of their movements and actions. Balancing these concepts with privacy concerns and requirements have spawned new technologies and regulatory requirements.
The evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) into IoE has accelerated “Human 4.0” -- people now receive continuous feedback from their smart devices. Advanced tracking systems have provided more transparency to consumers and empowered them to be play an even more active role in tackling such things as climate change. This evolution has not only increased transparency but has also empowered people to make more environmentally conscious decisions and decrease their overall environmental footprint with every decision they make.
Green technology is at the forefront of advancement, with governments incentivizing organizations and individuals to make smarter choices that consider the environmental impact of their actions. In the 2030s, convergence movements started to gain traction, calling for leading technology players to consolidate capabilities across the value chain to reduce emissions and the global environmental footprint overall.
Following public scrutiny, global technology and industry leaders initiated projects that are being driven largely by the private sector. Major players pooled their investments and assets to push advances in decarbonization technology and they now collectively play a crucial role in worldwide efforts to reduce human impacts on climate change.
Throughout the 2020s and mid-2030s, multi-trillion-dollar green energy investments transformed electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, power stations, solar batteries, and hydrogen energy. Cars and other devices now come equipped with smart meters as standard making consumers and manufacturers even more aware of their consumption in real-time, helping to ease the personal burden of recording and reporting the environmental impact of their everyday behaviors.
Why has this happened?
Governments, financial institutions and tech giants have played a crucial role in the technological transformations over the past 20 years. The grassroots momentum and public outcry for change seen in the 2020s motivated these giants to fund new research, development and the wider deployment of green technologies, as well as helping to drive fundamental changes in regulations and governance.
By the mid-2030s, tech giants became the biggest environmental, social and governance (ESG) influencers, enabling government policies and financing to t become more robust as the feasibility for compliance grew. When governments were more resistant to adopting greener energy methods, private companies stepped up, consolidating their powerful positions to source alternative energy sources and develop decarbonization strategies within their own countries. Private citizens have also led the charge, not only in building and harnessing the collective momentum required to make things possible but also in helping to crowdfund new technologies in those areas that encountered the most government resistance or in the sectors considered too niche to garner notice from tech giants.
The proliferation of data made available from the digital persona revolution and continued advances in AI/ML-powered analytics has greatly improved awareness and empowered decision-making support for environmental considerations. The automatic tracking used by utility companies and other major energy players, individuals and organizations has helped to better understand and record carbon footprints and identify opportunities to further eliminate waste. Robust semantic data technology collates the world's data to produce more meaningful insights on what societies can do to reduce carbon emissions and their impacts on the environmental footprint.
The convergence of individual, government and corporate initiatives has created a world where environmentally conscious technologies and innovations are necessary and a demand from a wide ecosystem of stakeholders. Countries and companies that fail to implement environmentally friendly programs see substantial negative impacts on their reputational standing and bottom line. Each player across the value chain has had to transform their business model and to integrate their data-driven insights into those services and products that empower individuals to make decisions that highlight the wider environmental impact of their actions.
But no matter the potential of technology to help decarbonization, the ability to find a sustainable consumption model will determine the ability to overcome climate change going forward. Progress has been tremendous over the two decades but reversing the damage from centuries of abuse still requires much work to be done.
Even with global alliances and collective commitments to reducing global warming in place, the planet is still dangerously close to reaching +2.0℃ warming. As 2050 gets closer, the focus on innovation and technology has turned to the -- the hard-to-abate sectors. Decarbonization in such areas as aviation and smelting will be critical to reaching net zero in the next 10 years. No industry remains untouched by public momentum or the new ESG standards. Individuals and corporations that don't comply can't be allowed to prosper through the exploitation of loopholes or the emerging underworld economy.
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