Wednesday, 14 May 2008

ICT Becomes the Green Focus in Europe

On Tuesday Viviane Redding, the EU Commissioner for Information, Society and Media, started a debate on how ICT could make the world (or at least Europe) a Greener place. It makes interesting reading, so I quote at some length from the press release:

'As part of its effort to combat climate change, the European Commission today announced that it would promote the use of ICT to improve energy efficiency throughout the economy, starting with buildings, lighting and the power grid. ICT can enable, across the economy, greener behaviour, which would massively cut Europe's carbon footprint if widely deployed. The Commission will encourage the ICT industry to demonstrate leadership in reducing its own CO2 emissions and by identifying and creating solutions that will benefit the whole economy. For instance the most advanced computer servers consume the same amount of energy as a standard light bulb; if widely used they could offer potential energy savings of up to 70%'.

"To meet Europe's energy efficiency goals by 2020, we need a high growth, low carbon economy. Research and rapid take-up of innovative energy efficient ICT solutions will be crucial to lowering emissions across the whole economy", said Viviane Reding. "There is a win-win situation in which ICT will promote the competitiveness of EU industry while leading the fight against climate change"'.

In a section that echoes the views of The Green IT Report (and spelled out in the Briefing Paper - The Meaning of Green IT), the press release goes on to say that '(The EU) .. will encourage the ICT sector, which at present accounts for 2% of global CO2 emissions, to lead by example the drive towards carbon neutrality. This will be done by reinforcing research, development and deployment of components and systems, complemented by voluntary agreements, for example on green procurement. The real gains from green ICT will come from developing energy efficient ICT solutions that impact the other 98% of global emissions'.

I don't think I can add much to that, except maybe to say that the focus on building, lighting and the power grid may be a bit narrow. What about travel (possibly excluded because air travel is not counted in EU carbon emissions), or transport/logistics, or systems to count, monitor, manage and trade carbon? I guess you have to start somewhere, though and these are pretty wide targets.

© The Green IT Review

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