Live from Copenhagen: the importance of Eco-Tech

Dateline Copenhagen, December 10, 2009. What an experience to represent Intel and the IT industry at this amazing forum. I’m here to discuss the role of ICT (information and communications technology) in reducing CO2 emissions in a variety of forums, but was also able to attend a bit of the official climate conference. In fact the session pictured was one where the representatives of island nations spoke very eloquently of the urgent need for a binding agreement to come from the conference. You can get a little sense of the workings of the proceedings with each delegate able to speak into their microphone and everyone wearing headsets to hear translations of the comments. The speech by Tuvalu’s representative won a big round of applause as we observed.

lorie at cop15.JPGThe proceedings were a great dose of reality for the ICT industry events that justified my trip. All of a sudden the Climate Savers Computing Initiative goal of reducing CO2 emissions from computing by 54 million tons seems so MUCH more important. And it was a great context for a new study released by IDC, of which Intel was one of the sponsors, on how ICT can contribute to sustainability. I would like to tell you just a little bit about why it’s exciting.

IDC has done a country-by-country analysis of the opportunities for technologies to be applied, but in the context of their energy sourcing, GDP and existing ICT infrastructure. This has allowed them to create a quantitative ICT Sustainability index that ranks the 19 countries in the G20 (the 20th is the EU). For those of us working on green IT, it’s no surprise that Japan is ranked the clear number 1. What’s a bit more surprising is that Brazil is in the top 6. And that overall IDC has found very feasible ways for ICT to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% in 2020. I really encourage you to check out this report. It looks at 17 different technologies – going a layer deeper than the reports we’ve had so far – and provides a great way to start the conversation on reinventing ourselves as a low-carbon economy.

More later – three more days in this (cold, wet) beautiful city! Tomorrow I am speaking on the Green IT Panel in Copenhagen where we will be discussing the role the IT industry has in the battle against climate change. No doubt there will be a lot more to blog about from there!

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