A few years ago, tech companies like Apple and Google were still struggling to find their footing in the climate change crisis.
Now, with the world inching ever closer to a tipping point, they’re working hard to make the transition as easy as possible.
But what happens if the technology industry continues to lurch back and forth?
Tech companies are spending billions of dollars to make sure they can remain profitable.
In fact, more than half of all venture capital investment went into the climate sector last year, according to the Climate Fund, an organization focused on climate change.
In contrast, tech firms invested $15.7 billion in the U.S. energy sector last fall, a drop of nearly half from the year before.
But some of the biggest companies are still taking steps to address the impact of climate change, according.
Facebook has already made it easier for people to report extreme weather, with its “Trends” feature.
Twitter and Google have invested heavily in climate change awareness and education, and Google announced that it will offer $50 million in climate-focused research and support.
Google is also investing in the development of new weather forecasting technology, according the Climate Action Tracker.
While some of these tech companies are making it easier to report severe weather and other extreme events, the industry is also looking at ways to better prepare employees for the impacts of climate disruption.
The Weather Channel has been training staff for months to better understand the changing climate.
Amazon is also testing a new cloud computing service called the AWS Cloud, which could make it easier and more affordable for companies to scale up their cloud-based operations.
And while the technology companies are investing in climate mitigation, it’s also the tech companies themselves that are taking a harder look at climate change as a threat.
A growing number of tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, and Microsoft, have begun to embrace renewable energy and carbon-free technologies, as well as renewable energy-focused policies.
These are all things that will require a different approach from the tech sector, said David McBride, executive director of the Climate Accountability Project.
“You’re looking at a company like Apple that’s the leader in tech,” he said.
“They have a climate change-focused platform that is built on transparency and open data.”
Tech companies like Facebook and Twitter have been taking steps toward making it easy for people in their workforce to report and understand extreme weather.
They’re training staff to better understanding the changing environment, and are launching a cloud-powered climate-data platform.
But even if tech companies begin to address climate change more directly, they’ll still need to make some moves to address other forms of environmental harm.
While technology companies and governments around the world are working on ways to help people prepare for climate impacts, tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft still face challenges in making sure they have the technology and people to mitigate the impacts that climate change can bring.
McBride said that tech companies and government agencies should be looking at what kind of investments are being made in the areas that affect climate disruption most.
“The government needs to have a greater role in supporting the development and deployment of technology,” he added.