Lost IT Opportunities in Copenhagen

Michael Vizard

No matter what you think of global warming itself, one of the things to be lamented over the lack of a substantive global climate treaty backed by the United Nations is all the IT opportunities that won't be created.


Without an effective treaty in place to cap carbons, companies around the globe are not going to have much of an incentive to participate in a cap-and-trade carbon system. Those systems would have resulted in thousands of jobs opportunities for IT professionals and, of course, billions of dollars in revenue for companies such as IBM, SAP and Microsoft that would have provided much of the underlying technology.

The lack of a global treaty doesn't mean that Green IT is dead. Individual countries will still create their own carbon emissions standards and requirements that will need to be measured, and there will be moral pressure from the five countries that agreed to work together on the issue. Companies that do business on a global basis will have to come into compliance with those standards. But there won't be the sense of urgency that a global treaty would have provided.

In the meantime, there's a tremendous amount of work that IT can do to both lower the cost and carbon emitted by IT systems, especially in terms of how we store and process data. At the end of the day, it's only a matter of time before green regulations kick off some IT-related process. It's just unfortunate that given the current state of the economy, the equivalent of a green IT job stimulus plan won't be making as big an impact as some folks might have hoped.

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Dec 29, 2009 7:42 PM Bjarne Rasmussen Bjarne Rasmussen  says:

Although the Copenhagen meeting didn't result in an effective treaty, many companies now understand the value of focusing in reduction of carbon. One reason is simply to reduce cost and IT can play a number of important roles here:

-     From the data centre by using virtualization to run servers more optimally and balance workload between internal system and external system in the Cloud and hence reduce the number of servers, amount of electricity, cooling etc.

-     By using IT to monitor and optimize offices, shops, factories etc. usage of light, cooling, heating.

-     By using IT to communicate and share information efficiently between employees, partners and customers from simply collaboration solution to advanced video conferences systems and reduce travel.

-     By efficiently collecting information on how electricity, water gas etc. is consumed across a company and use this to drive reductions goals and monitor this on the executive level and use it to drive behaviour through the organization.

-     Differentiate products and services by highlighting energy efficiency and low carbon emissions.

-     Demonstrate to investors that environmental risks are being managed closely.

All the smart CxO know this and will use IT to drive down carbon and reduce cost and differentiate their company in the market. Result is a greener company, better reputation, lower risks, more competitive and better bottom line. The IT industry has a great opportunity here.

For more info see Bill McCracken on CNBC's Closing Bell: http://www.cnbc.com/id/34111550 . We've also been discussing Copenhagen and the role of the IT industry here: http://community.ca.com/blogs/greenit/default.aspx


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