When it comes to green technology, there is much debate about its pros and cons. Some believe it is a crucial tool for safeguarding future generations and protecting the environment. In contrast, others see it as a disruptive and potentially dangerous force.
Green technology can be good and bad simultaneously, depending on thorough analysis. It can be bad if green technology manufacturing and operation outweigh energy requirements or environmental benefits.
If you are curious about this topic, keep reading to learn more about the various arguments surrounding green technology. Whether you are an avid supporter or an ardent detractor, this article will provide valuable insights into this hot-button issue.
What is Green Technology, and What is Good or Bad About It?
Yes, wind turbines, solar panels, and electric cars are possible environmentally friendly alternatives to our current technology. You also have to consider the materials and resources used in the production of green technology devices, as well as their ultimate disposal.
As we discuss in our articles “What Is Green Technology?” and “What Are Green Electronics,” we see that green technology spans many areas and is anything from a small sensor to a massive solar or wind-powered plant.
- Green Technology does not injure or impact and repairs the earth’s environment through supply, manufacturing, use, recycling, and disposal.
- Green Electronics uses materials and technology in their manufacturing that are Environmentally and Eco-Friendly in their creation of green technology.
- Sustainable “Green” Agricultural Technology uses the minimum required water, fertilizers, and pesticides across crops over particular areas using
Ultimately, what is good or bad about green technology is if it is genuinely helping the planet because it was correctly evaluated through the design, engineering, and manufacturing process. These technologies ultimately have not to use more resources when they are put to use than they are trying to replace.
It’s essential to reduce the adverse effects of climate change. Battling environmental damage means adopting less harmful practices and switching to renewable resources to protect our planet.
The Environmental Impact of Green Technology
While the premise and the hope for green technology of a less polluted future are promising and admiral. The reality is we still need to fully “green” technology, and it will not happen overnight.
Table 1.1 Examples of Green Technology Positives and Negatives
|Solar Panels||Wind Turbines||Electric Vehicles||Biomass Energy|
|Use solar energy for power production.||Use wind energy for power production.||Use electricity to power the vehicle as opposed to fossil fuels.||Biomass is converted to energy through direct burning, thermochemical, chemical, and biological conversion.|
|Do not produce environmental pollutants from the operation.||Do not produce environmental pollutants from the operation.||Do not produce environmental pollutants from the operation.||Biomass is a renewable source of energy.|
|Require industrial mining for manufacturing material.||Require industrial mining for manufacturing material.||Require industrial mining for manufacturing material. It will require massive increases in mining to keep up with supply demands.||Burning biomass emits large amounts of pollutants.|
|Require gas and coal-fired power for manufacturing production electricity.||Require gas and coal-fired power for manufacturing production electricity.||Require gas and coal-fired power for manufacturing production electricity.||The only good thing about biomass energy is that it is renewable.|
|Solar panels have heavy metals like cadmium and lead and are hazardous waste.||Kills large amounts of birds and bats from the operation of the wind turbines.||Require massive power grid and charging infrastructure upgrades to replace gas stations.||Biomass power plants cause as many pollutants as coal and often cut down forests for wood pellets and fuel to burn.|
|Most solar panels and waste goes to landfills after aluminum frames and copper are removed.||Decommissioned wind turbines can be difficult to dispose of especially the large ones that have 300-foot blades. They end up in landfills, and very little is recycled at this time.||EV battery disposal is in its very early stages for millions of electric vehicles. Batteries are extremely bad for the environment and over half are not recycled.||Biomass waste is an energy producer and a net polluter on its own. Burning Biomass waste includes CO, Pb, NO2, SO2, mercury, PM, and other hazardous waste pollutants.|
The Good in Green Technology
In a perfect world green technology means using safer, less harmful practices to ensure the longevity of our planet. In pursuit of environmental protection, green technology aims to use renewable resources instead of harmful industrial practices wreaking havoc on the environment.
As more people adopt environmentally friendly practices, green technology is becoming increasingly popular. Here are some of the major advantages of green technology.
Green technology presents one significant advantage with its operation: less pollution. The most practical way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90% is to switch to renewable energy sources. That’s because green technologies don’t release harmful pollutants into the environment, as traditional technologies do.
For example, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and wind turbines don’t release any emissions in their operation but do in their manufacturing production and disposal. Thus, ultimately, with time and improvement, they can be a much cleaner energy source than coal-fired power plants.
Additionally, green technology can help to reduce other types of pollution besides reducing emissions, such as water and air pollution.
Some environmentally friendly technologies, like rainwater harvesting or sewage treatment, reduce the water pollution created yearly.
Improved Energy Efficiency
Another significant advantage of green technology is that it can improve energy efficiency. This advantage means less energy is needed to power devices and appliances, which can also lead to substantial savings on your energy bill.
For instance, LED light bulbs use 90% less energy than other, more traditional light sources. While the upfront cost of LEDs is higher, they save energy in the long run. In addition, solar panels and other forms of renewable energy can help you become less reliant on the grid.
Switching to green technology can also save you money in the long run. Even though some green technologies may have cost more upfront, they often pay for themselves over time through energy savings.
For example, solar panels typically have a higher initial investment than traditional forms of energy. However, they can save you money on your energy bill over time, eventually paying for themselves.
In addition, many green technologies have tax incentives and other financial benefits that can offset the cost. For example, you may be eligible for a tax credit if you install solar panels on your home.
In addition to being good for the environment, green technology can also benefit the economy as it can create jobs. This development is because the advancement and implementation of green technologies often require the expertise of workers in a variety of different fields, such as engineering, construction, and manufacturing.
Furthermore, as more businesses adopt green technologies, these skill sets become ever more necessary, creating new opportunities for everyone. Consequently, investing in green technology can help boost employment levels in an economy.
Another critical advantage of green technology is that it can help promote sustainability. This is because green technologies often seek to reduce the use of resources, enabling us to use instead renewable resources which don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
For instance, solar panels provide an excellent alternative to traditional electricity, which can help reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. In addition, green technology can also help reduce waste, as some green technologies, such as recycling, seek to reuse and repurpose materials instead of simply discarding them.
If learning how to get involved with green energy interests you, then read this article which covers vital methods to do just that.
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are necessary to track renewable (green) electricity like wind and solar in the power grid from the place it is created to the point of purchase by a consumer.
“RECs are issued when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource.”Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) | US EPA
Renewable energy utilities have the ability to receive money from two separate income streams for electricity sold as KWh and RECs.
When people buy RECs they promote growth in the renewable electricity market by investing in new technology and projects in voluntary green power.
The Bad of Green Technology
Green technology is becoming increasingly popular as we search for ways to become more sustainable. While there are many advantages to using green technology, there are also some disadvantages worth considering.
The Problem With Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
According to an article in Nature.com about climate change; Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) threaten the integrity of corporate science-based target initiatives (SBTi) and inflated estimates of the effectiveness of emission reduction mitigation efforts.
“The widespread use of RECs by companies with science-based targets has led to an inflated estimate of the effectiveness of mitigation efforts. When removing the emission reductions claimed through RECs, companies’ combined 2015–2019 scope 2 emission trajectories are no longer aligned with the 1.5 °C goal, and only barely with the well below 2 °C goal of the Paris Agreement.
If this trend continues, 42% of committed scope 2 emission reductions will not result in real-world mitigation. Our findings suggest a need to revise accounting guidelines to require companies to report only real emission reductions as progress toward meeting their science-based targets.”Nature.com-Renewable energy certificates threaten the integrity of corporate science-based targets-Published June 2022.
End-of-Life Green Technology Disposal
Green technology disposal causes vast amounts of waste and pollution. Solar panels, wind turbines, green electronics, electric vehicle parts, and batteries end up in landfills worldwide.
There is also “uncontrolled growth of waste products such as plastic and electronic wastes”
Countries like China take landfill garbage from the United States and other countries although doing so at a much-reduced rate recently. Once delivered, the trash is then often sorted by hand, usually by the poorest of the poor.
Rare earth and valuable metals are then extracted from things like solar panels and green electronics at the cost of these people’s health to be sold or used again.
Proper management of sustainable green technology disposal is not at the top of everyone’s agenda, but it needs to be and fast.
“Big” Oil Turning Into “Big” Green Energy
“Big” Oil Turning Into “Big” Green Energy is a fact as U.S. for-profit corporations go full speed ahead with green technology, whether it works or not. Much of this is due to money, and pressure from people, governments, environmental groups, media, and investors.
Yes, we still need oil and gas and will for years to come. Don’t let the opinionated twist the information; to make you think that we won’t. What we need more than ever is a global plan that countries follow (U.S.) so that the transition is simple and easy.
In 2022 Big Oil had record profits despite the war in Ukraine and untold issues with inflation and the environment. One of their “Green Energy Answers” is to divest into single-use plastics to find good uses for petroleum.
We are all for honest profit; let’s just stop the spin like the tobacco and Teflon chemical industries of our past, to name a few.
High Upfront Costs
One of the major disadvantages of green technology is that it often comes with high upfront costs. These increased costs mean you may have to spend a lot of money to purchase and install green technology in your home or business before you realize the benefit.
For instance, installing solar panels can be expensive, and you’ll likely need to hire a professional. It usually takes years to recoup your upfront investment.
Green technology is often more costly than traditional technology, so you may have to pay more for a green version of a product than you would for a traditional one.
It’s important to remember that even though green technology might have high initial costs, it can save you up to 25% on energy costs in the long run.
Another disadvantage of green technology is that some of them are unproven. While the concept may sound good in theory, there’s no guarantee that it will work in practice.
For example, installing a home wind turbine might work to power some of your appliances, but if you don’t live in a windy area, you may not reap the benefits you thought you would.
Unproven technology can also be unreliable. This means it may not work when you need it or could break down quickly, leading to expensive repairs. An excellent example of unproven technology is Elon Musk’s Tesla Solar Roof Tiles, which are still relatively new to the market and have yet to be thoroughly tested.
Many green technologies have been around for years and are well-tested. So, be sure to do your research before investing in any green technology.
Potential Negative Environmental Impacts
While green technology is designed to be environmentally friendly, some can have negative environmental affects.
It’s essential to consider any green technology’s potential adverse environmental affects before investing in it. For example, producing solar panels requires a lot of mined resources and energy. Solar farms can take up a lot of space, leading to natural habitat loss.
The ridiculous concept that burning trees and wood pellets for Biomass Energy is some slick public relations firm’s brainchild. As discussed in Table 1.1, biomass is just as poisonous as burning coal.
Biomass energy waste incineration particle release includes carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), particulate matter (PM), and other hazardous waste pollutants.
Much of the United States manufactured forest wood pellets supplies are produced and then shipped overseas, where they’re burned to make energy.
Another disadvantage of green technology is that it can be inconvenient. Switching to green technology is not easy. Switching to solar or wind takes a lot of work but there are all kinds of examples of what kind of commitment it takes from all of us.
For example, using public transportation or e-bikes can be a hassle if you’re used to driving.
Similarly, switching to reusable products can require more effort if you’re used to disposable products. It requires remembering to bring your reusable bags to the store or factoring in a longer commute to work if you’re cycling.
While these inconveniences may seem minor, they can add up and make it challenging to use green technology consistently.
Not Always Available
Green technology only sometimes meets the demand. For instance, solar panels may not work for you if you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun. Solar panels might not be practical in this case, so you’ll have to rely on traditional technologies instead.
The same is true of wind turbines, which only generate electricity when the wind blows. If you live in an area with little wind, you may need more than wind turbines.
Power Grid Upgrades for Solar Vehicles
Whether places like California, Colorado, New Jersey, or New York want to admit it. We don’t just magically all just start driving electric cars without massive U.S. Electrical Grid upgrades.
As we discuss in our recent article, “U.S. Power Grid Is The Problem With The Future Of Electric Vehicles,” there is an expensive reckoning coming, and maybe more people should do their research and dust off the old calculator.
As we discuss n the article, the U.S. Power Grid is constantly having problems from weather-caused issues. There is rarely a month that goes by winter or summer that we don’t see everything from terrorism to blackouts caused by freezing or hot weather, tornadoes, or hurricanes.
Overpopulation and Its Effect On The Environment
We could not talk about green technology without discussing that we agree with and believe that attempts to stretch the Earth’s resources to support the population are what is destroying the planet.
We understood many years ago that we could not have infinite growth on a finite planet. Apparently, that is hard to digest for many and codependent at best. This question is not whether your glass is half full or half empty.
Positive thinking is a fantastic concept, but we also need to be responsible for our actions and keep track of our bank accounts, so we don’t run out of money.
The banking analogy and spending too much money or sustaining over 8 billion people while adding another 1 billion humans every 14 years to the planet are the same.
Food and resources are required in ever greater quantities each year we add people to the earth. Economists argue that you need children and more people to sustain what we have, but do they consider slowing down and not focussing on growth?
The short answer is from the book “The Population Bomb” from 1969 and is available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99. “The birth rate must be brought into balance with the death rate. Encourage young people to have two or fewer children. The U.S. government should incentivize having fewer children and improve access to birth control.
The U.S. could also encourage population control in developing countries, where birth rates were highest, by making population control measures a condition of foreign aid.”
So, Is Green Technology a Good Thing?
Green technology can significantly reduce your environmental impact and save money in the long run. Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of green technology, you may wonder if it’s good or bad.
The answer is that it depends on your specific situation. However, comprehensive green technology is a good thing, and it’s just the first step to protecting our planet.
Before you invest in any green projects, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons. Doing so will help ensure you make the best decision for your budget and needs. However, it’s only sometimes practical or affordable.
If you want to make a difference, please see our article “How To Get Involved With Green Technology?”
- United Nations: Renewable Energy Sources Cut Carbon Emissions, Efficiently Increase Electricity Output Worldwide, Delegates Say in Second Committee
- Agriculture Technology
- Green Technologies Cause Massive Waste and Pollution – IER
- Health consequences of using biomass for energy | News
- Green economy and waste management: An inevitable plan for materials science – ScienceDirect
- US Department of Energy: Lighting Choices to Save You Money
- The Eco Experts: Switching to a Green Energy Supplier
- Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) | US EPA
- International Labour Organization: Green jobs and renewable energy: low carbon, high employment
- IOP Science: Advantages of Green Technology to Mitigate the Environment Problems
- Columbia Climate School: Let’s Come Clean: The Renewable Energy Transition Will Be Expensive
- EnergySage: How much does energy efficiency cost?
- Tesla: Solar Roof
- Honua Ola Bioenergy: Environmental Impact of Solar Panel Manufacturing
- GCR Electrical Systems: Will My Solar Panels Produce Power When The Sun Isn’t Shining?