Almost 496m tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) pollution enters the United Kingdom atmosphere every year. The source of these greenhouse gas emissions are human activity, known scientifically as anthropogenic interference. The top three sources of emissions are ‘Energy Supply’ (32%), ‘Transport’ (23%) and ‘Business’ (17%). The impact causes 40,000 premature deaths annually and has increased UK temperatures by 1°C through radiative forcing (global warming). The warming is raising UK coastal sea levels by 3mm per year and the polluted rain is acidifying our waterways and seas as nitrogen dioxide returns to the earth as acid rain. Should this continue unabated the UK will bear witness to considerable negative social and environmental crisis. By the end of the century 3.2m people will have died unnecessarily from breathing related diseases, the Thames estuary and lowlands such as Cambridge and the Fens, Belfast, Blackpool, Great Yarmouth, Hull and Portsmouth will be at risk from seawater flooding, and many of our native species such as the salmon and brown trout will be depleted.
Whilst the UK Business sector is responsible for 17% of all UK CO2e emissions, UK businesses actually consume 43% of all energy produced. Almost half of this energy powers office heating and lighting with information and communication technology (ICT) being the next largest consumer
The purpose of PX3’s atmospheric pollution research is to determine the true extent of ICT’s contribution to the UK’s anthropogenic pollution through the creation of innovative new computing tools, and to design and test new sustainable ICT best practices that will reduce CO2e emissions by as much as 50%. The success and adoption of this research in the UK will deliver the carbon equivalent reduction of removing over 450,000 cars from UK roads per annum. To remove this level of ICT related emissions pollution naturally from the atmosphere through photosynthesis the UK government would need to plant over 12m acres of new forest; an area 2.5 times the size of Wales.
PX3’s atmospheric pollution research contributes to making Principle 18 of the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment a reality and through collaboration promotes the UK ICT industry as a thought leader in future sustainability.