How Software Developers Can Combat Climate Change

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The fight against climate change is a multifaceted issue requiring an offensive on numerous fronts, whether carbon emissions, plastic build-up, water pollution, the list drags on. Climate change will prove to have tremendous impacts on the global economy as well as governments around the globe have pledged to make efforts to reduce carbon emissions by mid-century. In the U.S. alone, these “Green Sector” jobs have promising outlooks and benefits, with jobs like wind turbine service technicians, solar panel installers, and other technological service occupations set to be some of the fastest-growing professions in the next ten years.

This economic shift creates vast opportunities for software programmers, as the latest computer technology is needed to make accurate projections for the future. Even if you are satisfied with your current programming position, there are still small things coders and software developers can do to reduce energy and save money.


One of the biggest concerns over a transition to a green economy is what it will do to the job market. As the effects of climate change become more visible every year, companies large and small have begun to take pledges to create sustainable business models and reduce their carbon footprints. We have seen some of the largest international companies promoting roles for sustainability engineers/managers to ensure their companies align with environmental, social, and corporate governance guidelines (ESG). Now may be the best time to pursue a degree/career in computer science, as many of these new jobs require technologically adept minds and problem-solving skills.

Aside from full-time roles concerned with a company’s environmental policies, eco-awareness is becoming more engrained in the way businesses are built. Software and hardware engineers are needed to develop new infrastructure architecture at a range of companies to ensure their products and services abide by ESG regulations and keep future investment risks to a minimum.

Data Processing Tools

Many of the programs environmental scientists currently use were created by people in their field with little to no knowledge of software engineering. To make accurate measurements so we can keep the public informed on what exactly needs to be done in decades to come, we need computer programs with pinpoint accuracy.

Software engineers are needed to design new data management systems for environmental technologies. These positions require coders with strong analytical and socials skills to collaborate on automation programs to measure energy consumption. For those who meet the qualifications, jobs like these pay as much as $150,000 a year.

What else can we do?

Even if you don’t work in sustainability-related fields, there are ways to make sure your software applications and hardware are running efficiently and not consuming ludicrous amounts of energy. Implementing small initiatives to cut back on power can stack up in the long-run, and save you money on your next electricity bill.

There are plenty of small ways you can redesign your business’s web page to save energy. Things like refactoring plug-ins to make for a more seamless and efficient user experience or just limiting any unnecessary lines of code add up in terms of how much energy your webpage consumes.

Cloud servers can be exceptionally costly (both in energy and price) when running any size network whether it’s for your business or your family, large or small. That’s why Google offers to schedule cloud shutdowns to save energy outside of work hours. Google provides a step-by-step guide here.

There are constantly new and emerging technologies to accurately measure how much energy you’re using on your device. For example, a watt-hour meter is an easy-to-use device that tracks the amount of energy your hardware uses. You can use this measuring tool to track exactly how much power is consumed by your computer’s CPU, GPU, Network, and memory, as these tend to use most of the energy your device uses. However, it is possible to track how much energy your screen consumes if you know what kind your laptop/monitor uses.

Whether you’re a full-time sustainability engineer or a small start-up trying to make a positive impact, there are always ways to implement environmental consciousness and responsibility into your career or business model.

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