Can Green Technology Actually Harm the Environment?

By: | March 17th, 2015

Now this is something that people don’t read in the news every day.

A researcher from the University of Toronto reveals that green technology isn’t always as it seems to be. Some companies may be fronting “renewable” or “sustainable” in their mission statement but in reality, some of them produce more carbon emissions than the energy that’s produced by oil.

Christopher Kennedy, a professor of engineering at the University of Toronto, is the brains behind the new insight. He has developed a formula that measures the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by the power generated from sustainable technology.

Based on Kennedy’s formula, if the sustainable technology is producing more than 600 tons of greenhouse gas from each gigawatt of energy produced, which, according to him, is the “threshold at which electrification can reduce emissions,” people are better off using traditional gas since it’s less harmful.

The new findings of the University of Toronto researcher can be a bit problematic for regions that are looking forward to using 100% green technology for the generation of electricity. Africa, for one, is counting on the construction of more solar panels and wind farms because there are still a lot of areas on the continent that don’t have power. Nicaragua, which suffers long hours of blackouts due to the lack of thermal plants that can convert oil to energy, is looking forward to a sustainable development that would allow the country to lessen its dependence on oil by more than 90%. Sulzer, the partner of Unaoil in servicing oil and gas clients in Southern Iraq, said that several countries all over the world have already committed to increasing their share of electricity obtained from renewable sources by 2020.

While the discovery by Kennedy may be harmless in countries that still have low levels of greenhouse gas emissions such as Canada, the same cannot be said for countries like China and the U.S.

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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