Monday, 7 January 2008

From marginal to structural approaches to climate change – The case of IT

Almost every day there are reports about the increased CO2 contribution from the IT/ICT sector. The sad thing is that almost all of them (I have not found one of the major magazines running a story about the potential of IT/ICT). The latest two, that I got in my inbox today, is in New Scientist and a Reuter article (even if I have to say that Reuter is one of the few mainstream outlets that actually have covered the potential of ICT to reduce CO2)

It makes me a bit sad to see that
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will go for offsetting through planting trees and will try to see if they could support a scheme where “offsetting” can be used to trigger a really sustainable development and address the problem that is being offset. In the case of CES the obvious way would be to invest in virtual meetings/video conferencing infrastructure so we do not need to fly so much in the future… For an outline of such a project see this page.

Obviously it is not totally unimportant with the direct and LCA impact of IT and high tech equipment, but we must start to focus on the role this sector have in the transition towards a low carbon economy. That require us to move a way from a perspective where we look at each sector and see how they can (on the margin) reduce their reductions and shift the focus to how we can provide the services (right temperature, light, meetings, transportation, etc) we need. Then we start asking the questions that can guide us to the structural changes we need to see.

See this page for more information about my work in this area.