Devastating impact of climate change call for sturdier techBy Staff Writer 29 April 2022 | Categories: feature articles
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As the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal have so starkly demonstrated, climate change is not a problem that is waiting to happen, but is happening right now, often with dire consequences.
The scenes emanating from Durban after parts of the city received nearly five times the highest rainfall on record, are reminiscent of an apocalyptic disaster film. Infrastructure, including roads and bridges were washed away, buildings collapsed, vehicles were washed away and hundreds of people lost their lives.
For years scientists have cautioned that climate change will result in a growing number of extreme weather events and an increase in natural disasters such as droughts and flooding. World Metrological Organisation secretary-general, Professor Pettari Taalas says the number of weather, climate and water extremes has already increased and will become more frequent and severe in many parts of the world. That means more heatwaves, drought and forest fires. More water vapour in the atmosphere will exacerbate extreme rainfall and deadly flooding, while ocean warming has affected the frequency of intense tropical storms.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment report, released earlier this year, human induced climate change has caused widespread negative impacts which extend beyond climate variability to nature and people. The report details 127 risks to a range of sectors including health, agriculture, the economy, infrastructure and ecosystems.
Speaking at the release of the report, Taalas pointed out that, “Climate change-induced disasters come with high human and economic impacts.” More than 40% of the global population live in contexts highly vulnerable to climate change, including in Africa, where population growth, urbanisation and unsustainable development practices are boosting the exposure of people and ecosystems to climate change, he said.
Globally, the movement to address and mitigate the risks of climate change is gaining momentum with calls to move beyond the use of fossil fuels, incorporate clean energy in energy mixes, provide forests with better protection, promote climate-smart agriculture and make a collective effort to cut carbon emissions.
From the perspective of consumers we need to become more conscious of the impact of the products we consume. One of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals centres around responsible consumption and production. Essentially, this goal is about doing more – and better - with less, about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles.
As the global population consumes more resources than ever, waste and pollution are on the increase. Shifting spend towards more sustainable products and services will help to drive markets in the direction of innovation and sustainability.
One company that has heeded this call is Crosscall, the French manufacturer of ultra-resistant and durable smartphones and tables. The company recently announced a 5-year warranty on all its new devices, including the batteries, in response to a call for more sustainable telephony. This new, longer-term warranty is valid on all Crosscall’s upcoming models as well as some of its recently launched products. The company will be offering updates to the operating system of these devices throughout the warranty period.
The company reassured that reliable, hard wearing and high-performing devices able to stand the test of time have been the hallmark of Crosscall’s products since the company was established in 2009. The company integrated a crash-testing and prototyping laboratory into its French headquarters at the end of 2020. In total 300 tests designed to reproduce a multitude of situations that uses could face with their smartphones are carried out on Crosscall’s prototypes to ensure their durability and reliability.
To further extend the life cycle of each product, the company has committed to providing spare parts for 10-years. As a result Crosscall has the highest marks of any mobile telephony device manufacturer when it comes to France’s Repairability Index which was introduced in 2021.
France is the first European country to implement a legally binding Repairability Index, a first step towards the creation of a circular economy for digital technology and household goods. The index aims to counter co-called ‘planned obsolescence’ which forces consumers to purchase newer models rather than repair existing ones.
The country plans to replace its Repairability Index with a Durability Index within the next two years which will require manufacturers to disclose not only how repairable their products are but also describe the full lifecycle for each product. Both indices are designed to give consumers the right to opt for longer product lifespans, with the broader aim of pressuring manufacturers to make devices and appliances last longer.
At a time when consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of the brands they purchase, it is initiatives such as France’s Repairability Index and the development of sustainable products like Crosscall’s that need to become the norm. Addressing climate change requires a holistic and concerted effort from government’s, businesses and individuals to reduce carbon emissions. It’s a complex task which can no longer be delayed.
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