By Sa Nyoung Kim
The world is in the throes of a climate crisis fueled by soaring global temperatures. Volatile weather, environmental damage, food and water scarcity, are among climate-related disasters pushing millions of people into poverty.
Human activities have been cited as a major factor driving this phenomenon.
This is mostly through human-related emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor. Experts warn that only a sustained reduction in GHGs levels will reverse this disturbing trend.
Hence the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement signed by 196 countries to limit global production of these gases. But governments alone will not win this war. We all have a responsibility to cut carbon emissions in our homes and places of work in order to sustain the transition to a low-carbon world.
This requires every person to embrace choices that are less detrimental to the environment, for instance, by minimizing their lifestyle carbon footprint. This is defined by the World Health Organisation as the amount of carbon dioxide produced at individual and household level.
Currently, it is estimated that household emissions account for 75 per cent of carbon injected into the atmosphere. Electricity and other forms of energy contribute to about 35 percent of total GHG output. Residential and commercial buildings consume over half of all electricity meaning that any meaningful efforts in tackling climate change must begin at household level.
Simple measures such as unplugging devices like TVs, computers and air conditioners when not in use is an effective way of lessening energy consumption and, in extension, cutting back or eliminating household emissions. More efficient domestic appliances also curb excess use of energy in our homes and offices.
A recent study in Finland revealed that use of automated home gadgets resulted in a 12 percent decline in household carbon generation. This includes devices using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other intuitive technologies eliminating the need for constant human intervention but also enabling controlled use of water and energy.
Encouraging more people to embrace a net-zero domestic lifestyle should start by creating greater awareness of how our personal choices impact the world around us. Adopting sustainable technologies in our homes comes with significant benefits in terms of decreasing the carbon footprint of the built environment. These include smart devices incorporating apps that allow you to control them remotely thus monitoring how they are functioning.
These could be refrigerators timed to work optimally with less power or washing machines that use less time to clean clothes.Responsible consumption of goods and services is integral to the realization of the global sustainability goals which includes combating climate change. I must emphasize the need to make protecting the environment a fundamental aspect of our daily lives.
Like individuals, businesses also have a crucial role to play in the shift to a carbon-free environment. In this regard, many responsible firms are taking the lead in championing the climate agenda. An example is LG Electronics, with its Zero Carbon 2030 initiative, aimed at achieving net-zero carbon emissions across its global operations.
This is on track going by the fact that LG just recently joined the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index that ranks leading companies in reducing the environmental impact of products. As a business, walking this journey with the customer is part of our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda. LG is conscious of the serious impact of climate change and environmental pollution and we do our utmost to reduce the negative environmental impact of our activities and worksites to zero. Our approach to innovation is intricately linked to this vision for a greener world.
By innovating products that enable homes to dial down on greenhouse gas pollution is at the core of our sustainability agenda. In transportation, we have partnered with leading auto firms to develop innovative technology deployed in response to the need to curtail carbon emissions due to fossil fuel consumption.
In a nutshell, pulling together, we can all work towards a cleaner, safer and healthier world for everyone.
Mr. Kim is the Managing Director, LG East Africa