Sunday, 29 June 2008

Size matters: 400 millions that could use sustainable IT solutions in China

China mobile now have more than 400 million subscribers…

I’m waiting for a response from China Mobile on the next steps in our project (we are already working on case studies with them). For obvious reason this is a priority project. In one month they increased with almost the whole population of Sweden. (Increase in May for China Mobile: 7.49 million, Population in Sweden: 9.20 million).

The rapid development makes it hard to keep up. Even the traditional experts are not using the right numbers. An example is Dominic Barton, Chairman at McKinsey Asia did a presentation at the Even Treasury and Finance Conference Asia Pacific 2008, last week. He had a slide stating that “CHINA MOBILE HAS MORE THAN 80 MILLION MORE SUBSCRIBERS THAN THE TOP FIVE US CARRIERS COMBINED”. This was based on 301 million subscribers. About 100 million or 30% off the mark.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Short movies from China about a low carbon future

The first stage in the collaboration between Communication University of China (CUC), GlobalFOCUS and WWF, called "Visions for the future, from the future", is now over and we have nine short movies about a low carbon future. It is a really exciting project and we will now do a final revision of all the movies before we launch them and some of the artists will go to Europe to present the project.

From CUC the following was in the jury and made the project possible:
Lv Xuewu, Vice President, CUC
He Suliu, Deputy Dean, TV & Journalism School, CUC
Lu Shengzhang, Professor, Animation School, CUC
Zhou Wei, Professor, Movies & Arts School, CUC
Qin Yuming, Associate Professor, TV & Journalism School, CUC

One person that should not be forgotten Lin Zhouying, she has been the project leader at CUC, without her this would never have been such a great success.

This is from the folder that we published for the first screening: The word is changing fast and China is re-emerging as one of the leading actors on the world scene. Over the last years China’s economic role and impact on the environment has been discussed in international media. China is already the world’s second largest consumer of energy and China has become a crucial link in the global supply chain that connects resource providers and end consumers. The country is often described as the ‘manufacturing factory’ of the world. While the reality is of course more complex, it is true that much of the production capacity in China exists to meet the demand for products from primarily OECD countries. This new situation brings both opportunities and challenges. It is important to understand the impact we have on the environment. Even more important is to find inspiration for how we can solve the problems we have. The Communication University of China (CUC), WWF and GlobalFOCUS are working together and as a fist result 9 top short films was selected from more than 100 applications. They are all done by a new generation of artists in China.. The common theme for the short films focus is the theme “An Attractive Low Carbon Future”. All the artists come from CUC, they are young, passionate, creative, ambitious and concerned about sustainable development. They use animation and short films, along with various techniques, to voice their concerns, views and opinions. They see China’s development as an opportunity for global sustainable development. They acknowledge the enormous problems that exist, but more importantly, they see opportunities. Their contributions focus on sustainable urban energy solutions. They are inspired and they want to inspire others. Their perspective provides a glimpse into the perspective of China’s future generation. These nine movies is an invitation to discuss not only the situation and role of China but to start a truly global dialogue about visions that exist for the future.

I look forward not only to the final version of the movies and the European tour, but also to the next phase of the project. We will obviously make the movies available on the web, maybe even on a separate webpage.

Support from Japan for the first global IT strategy for CO2 reductions

The letter below is a very much welcomed support for “Outline for the first global IT strategy for CO2 reductions”. Especially as Japan with experts like Counselor Dr. Takao Shiino and Professor Makoto Yokozawa from Nomura Research Institute, are among the very leading experts In the world when it comes to the link between ICT and sustainable development.

“Firstly, as one of IT related business entities, who are expected to be the potential solution providers for the low-carbon-society, we would like to congratulate this outstanding report with deep understanding and precise analysis for the future of the global economy.

We would like to emphasize WWF's new report has a special meaning related to the future impact of the IT on society and economy. NRI has been working on the mechanisms of basic social transformation from the traditional industrial economy to the Ubiquitous Network Society. We assume we are facing on over hundred social and systemic issues which include cyber security, identity theft, privacy protection, intellectual properties, lack of common rules for new information services and businesses including 3D virtual worlds, as well as the global warming issues as described in WWF's report. When we use hundreds of IT devices per single person -- this is not an exaggeration, but a reality if we are surrounded by RFIDs and sensor networks -- energy efficiency of such ubiquitous devices is actually an essential bottleneck, and without this consideration, we will not be able to reach the Ubiquitous Network Society forever.

We are specially impressed in the smart categorization of the functionalities of IT on sustainability, as shown by "direct", "indirect" and "systemic" in this report. While the "Green IT Consortium" in Japan has been providing similar concept of "green of IT" and "green by IT", "Systemic" part of IT functionalities seems to be the most important and essential if we think "green" as "Business Innovation". NRI has stressed that "Business Innovation" includes "Business Process Innovation" and "Business Model Innovation", and without innovative and systemic thinking, "green" is only a backward problem which we are forced to solve unpleasantly.

Another impressive point in this report is the concept of "low carbon feedback" and "high carbon feedback". NRI is now collecting and analyzing those systemic best practices as one of the policy issue activities in GBDe, the Global Business Dialog on electronic Commerce. We are focusing on the difference of the types of feed backs, especially between the hardware approaches and the software approaches. Unlike the hardware approaches, the software approaches will have the characteristics of "low-resource feedback", since large scale usage in software does not necessarily mean the linear increase of resource/energy consumption. We believe this would be a good example of the "low carbon feedback".

Also inspired by this report, we have noticed that we need broader viewpoints about "green", to balancing with external issues for consideration, such as security in life, productivity in business, creativity in culture/science and dependability on systems. For example, security issues in cyberspace or anti-terrorism issues are other bottlenecks than "green", and those are also so essential for us to have the future of ideal Internet economy in our hands. Some of the high carbon feedbacks seems to be related to these complex combination of independent issues, and could not be avoided unless finding the way to balance the importance and co-existence of each solutions will be very important to think comprehensive design of future Internet economy.

We would like to add some related concern about WWF's concept of low/high carbon feedback and our future policy proposals to the policy makers. When we think about the feedbacks, we may have to define the range of feedbacks, such as local/national/global levels or single/multiple industry, before we share the clear image of realistic feedbacks from those initiatives.

As many experts say, IT is an essential enabling technology for sustainability. We appreciate the 10 best solutions to reduce carbon footprint shown in this report. These are powerful examples to prove the functionalities of IT. In our analysis, IT has the power of "dematerialization", "optimization", "integration", "visualization" and "structural change", all of which are so fundamental to change the business styles and life styles suitable to sustainability of this world. Also IT has the power to change the behavior of people, which we think commonly integrated in all of WWF's 10 typical solutions. Communication and sharing the knowledge and experiences through the power of IT, will be the "low hanging fruits" we can expect in the next step.

Again, we appreciate WWF's excellent work in this report and we very much look forward to collaborating with WWF in any ways to more deeply analyze the mechanisms of greener Internet economy.”

Counselor Dr. Takao Shiino
Professor Makoto Yokozawa
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Carbon-rich Nanomaterials from China for a low carbon future

Had a great meeting with a team of professors from the Nanomaterial Research Group at the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China (NCNST) here in Beijing. We discussed the nanotechnology project that I run together with Eric Drexler. We agreed to start cooperating and the first steps include:

1: Help to translate the folder about Nanotech into English (don’t think I have posted the project description, but will try to do this as soon as possible). Look into translating the roadmap Eric developed earlier.

2. Look into a joint seminar discussing ways forward for nanotechnology in China

3. Develop a short folder building on the work NCNTC have done. Preliminary title:” Carbon-rich Nanomaterials for a low carbon and resource efficient society - Delivering tomorrows energy solutions with today’s state of the art technology“

Nanotech is really an area that deserves a lot more attention and the fact that NCNTC already has an integrated approach (thinking about how different nanosolutions can work together) this could be really really really interesting.

I look forward to further work with Zhiyong Tang, Linjie Zhi, Bao-Hang Han and Zhixiang Wei. With people like this saving the planet is no big problem…

Friday, 20 June 2008

New paper from HP Offers Solutions Contributing to 1 Billion Tonnes of CO2 Emissions Reductions

Post no.3 the 19th of June. I must admit that I think it is one of the most exciting and important posts in a a long time. This is the first time (as far as I know) a major IT company not only talk about the potential and/or ask consultants to calculate the potential (both are important), but actually becomes concrete and help customer to understand what that could translate to in concrete action. I look forward to follow this up.

The report can be downloaded here

The press release

HP offers the first low carbon IT solutions guide for customers

PALO ALTO, Calif., June 19, 2008

HP published a guide that identifies the potential to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by using existing HP solutions.

HP's white paper, titled "Low Carbon IT Solutions," further supports the company-wide HP Eco Solutions program.

Beyond documenting the efficiency of information technology (IT) solutions, the white paper helps customers identify those products and services that can help them transition to operate with a lower carbon footprint.

"HP is committed to developing products and services that provide our customers with the opportunity for smarter growth," said Pierre Delforge, manager, Energy and Climate Strategy, HP. "HP has identified eco solutions that provide countries, businesses and individuals with the tools to significantly reduce their climate impact."

HP's white paper builds upon the report developed by Dennis Pamlin, global policy advisor, WWF-Sweden, called "The potential global CO2 reductions from ICT use: Identifying and assessing the opportunities to reduce the first billion tonnes of CO2." The report identifies 10 existing IT solutions that reduce CO2 emissions in areas including buildings, transportation networks and industrial production. With additional data and further analysis, particularly in the emerging economies, the ultimate potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) for curbing emissions can be further quantified.

Solutions described in HP's white paper include:

  • HP research into smart cooling and its use in the design of data center facilities that reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions from commercial premises.
  • HP innovation in telepresence and videoconferencing that enable improved virtual collaboration to reduce the environmental impacts of international travel. HP's use of this technology is expected to save approximately 20,000 international trips and at least 32,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), an internationally recognized measure of greenhouse emissions.
  • HP mobile computing technology, including flat panel displays and notebook PCs, which increases workplace flexibility to reduce energy consumption from non-critical travel.
  • HP office and digital print solutions that help customers establish on-demand print and workflow processes that help avoid unnecessary printing and transportation of physical materials.

The "Low Carbon IT Solutions" white paper from HP is available at

"This guide to low carbon IT solutions by one of the world's largest technology companies is welcomed and an important contribution in response to the urgent climate challenge," said Dennis Pamlin, global policy advisor, WWF-Sweden.

More information on the report,"The potential global CO2 reductions from ICT use: Identifying and assessing the opportunities to reduce the first billion tonnes of CO2," is available at The executive summary is available at The report is the first in a series of three, which will be released this fall.

New report from GeSI and Climate Group: SMART 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information age

Post no.2 the 19th of June

Another good contribution to the low carbon IT discussion came out today. GeSI and The Climate Group have now released the study done by McKinsey. It is quite similar to the one we and ECOFYS did with the support from HP (see McKinsey focus on four case studies and use their earlier abatement work (that is a slight problem as that model is not really done for areas with innovation).

For the first incremental changes there are however not much difference between the different studies that exist and the numbers in this report support earlier studies. The lack of work in the emerging economies (that we highlighted in our report) is becoming almost embarrassing and I really hope to get some work done with China Mobile, Wipro and other leading companies in China and India. Great with the two case studies from China and India in this report, really hope that we can get a really serious study done soon that covers China and India in depth. The report also includes a good about IT's own footprint, even if I think they have underestimated the saving potential and technology changes we will see (maybe it would be good to do a study about this?). What I think is the weak part (if used in the wrong way) is that it lacks is a concrete way forward that is not only about the low hanging fruits, as that can lead to high carbon lock-in. I hope that WWFs work, together with GeSI, Climate Group and others, can help people to focus more on the transformative aspects regarding real investments. Linear models are good for inspiration, but they should not be used to guide investments. Our work with Booz Allen Hamilton might contribute here.

The report can be downloaded here.

The Press release
Smarter technology use could reduce global emissions by 15 per cent and save global industry EUR 500 billion in annual energy costs by 2020

Friday 20 June 2008 – Transformation in the way people and businesses use technology could reduce annual man-made global emissions by 15 per cent by 2020 and deliver energy efficiency savings to global businesses of over EUR 500 billion [GBP 400 billion/USD 800 billion], according to a new report published today by independent non-profit The °Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).

The report – SMART 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information age – is the world’s first comprehensive global study of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector’s growing significance for the world’s climate. The report’s supporting analysis, conducted independently by international management consultants McKinsey & Company, shows that while ICT’s own sector footprint - currently two per cent of global emissions - will almost double by 2020, ICT’s unique ability to monitor and maximise energy efficiency both within and outside of its own sector could cut CO2 emissions by up to five times this amount. This represents a saving of 7.8 Giga-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2020 – greater than the current annual emissions of either the US or China.

Although tele-working, video-conferencing, e-paper, and e-commerce are increasingly commonplace, the report notes that replacing physical products and services with their virtual equivalents (dematerialisation and substitution) is only one part (six per cent) of the estimated low carbon benefits the ICT sector can deliver.

Far greater opportunities for emissions savings exist in applying ICT to global infrastructure and industry and the report examines four major opportunities where ICT can make further transformational cuts in global emissions. These exist globally within smart building design and use, smart logistics, smart electricity grids, and smart industrial motor systems.

New report from WWF-Canada: High Tech Key to Low Carbon Future

Is June 19 the day of low carbon ICT solutions? This is the first of three posts about low carbon ICT in one single day… After six years work it is now full speed ahead.

The report from WWF Canada can be downloaded here.

This is the press release:
By making better use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Canada's GHG emissions can be reduced by 20 million tonnes a year, according to a study released today by WWF-Canada in conjunction with Bell Canada. That's equivalent to taking 3.2 million cars off the road, or 7 percent of Canada's annual Kyoto obligation. With more aggressive implementation, reductions as high as 36 million tonnes a year are realistically achievable in a 2020 timeframe. Because most of these cuts come from improving energy efficiency, cost savings to business, government and individuals are conservatively estimated at $7.5 billion - $13 billion per year.

Innovating Toward a Low-Carbon Canada: Using Technology to Transform Tomorrow outlines how enhanced use of currently available ICT products and services can help decouple Canada's economic growth and prosperity from its traditional reliance on fossil fuels.

"We have an increasingly digitized economy. What's missing is a roadmap by which governments, business and consumers can maximize the role of ICT in fighting climate change," says Stephane Boisvert, President of Bell Canada's Enterprise Group, which sponsored the report. "Technologies that can reduce our travel and the energy we use, while enhancing the use of energy-efficient goods and services, have multiple benefits for the environment, for the economy and for communities - a triple win."

Similar to an analysis by WWF in Europe, the report outlines how the spectrum of information and communications networks, software, hardware, and broadband services can be deployed to reduce GHG emissions. It makes concrete recommendations for business, government and the ICT sector, namely:

- Build a tele-work culture - financial incentives and management leadership can encourage 5-10 percent of Canadians to avoid commuting in their cars.

- Enhance car-pooling and car-sharing - the power of social networking and on-line communications can get 12-20 percent of commuters ride-sharing and sharing cars.

- Minimize carbon emissions by driving smarter - equipment that reduces idling and optimizes commercial vehicle routes can deliver large fuel and financial savings.

- Encourage more electronic meetings - business and government need to set the pace towards eliminating 20-30 percent of business travel, which makes even more sense with rising fuel prices.

- Facilitate more e-products and e-transactions - significant financial and environmental benefits already exist, and justify broader uptake.

- Deploy electronic meters and controls - regulatory requirements will drive adoption and reduce energy consumption of buildings.

"Business and government need to require, champion and demonstrate ICT solutions to the global warming problem - it won't magically happen," says Mike Russill, President and CEO of WWF-Canada. "ICT products and services offer easy, intelligent ways to save money while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Wipro supports WWF’s new report

As the first CEO in the world Azim Premji Chairman & CEO of Wipro, have provided a comment for my new report about IT: Outline for the first global IT strategy for CO2 reductions: A billion tonnes of CO2 reductions and beyond through transformative change.

“Enabling the world’s poor to move out of poverty can get dramatically accelerated by innovation and resource efficient solutions. IT can provide multiple solutions to drive these innovations and improve quality of life; while at the same time enable sustainable use of natural resources, including reduced dependence on fossil fuel

The WWF report is timely and Wipro looks forward to joint work with WWF, to ensure that more sustainable IT solutions will become available. Wipro has begun to build a portfolio of investments that will create possibilities and opportunities for sustainable business. We will also partner with regional, national & global groups as part of our sustainability initiatives in energy, water, waste & biodiversity.”

Azim Premji Chairman & CEO of Wipro

I hope to get comments from two or maybe three more CEOs from different parts of the IT value chain.

Mobile summit 2008: Game over – What parts of the IT industry is ready to talk about content?

Another conference where people focused almost all attention on the 2% (IT’s own emissions not the 98% of the emissions in society that IT can help to reduce). Interesting is to see that there is a war within the 2% box. Some arguments made sense, like showing that the handsets are less important than the network (1% compared to 99%). Still the most important question now is how IT is used and what IT-solutions that are provided. Would be interesting to see where the resources to reduce CO2 are spent and what the drivers are.

One area that I would like to explore is if companies that focus on “entertainment” and see future revenue streams from games, music and other “trivial areas” are more likely to focus on the 2% (as they can’t really defend their emissions). Companies that actually provide low-carbon solutions obviously have a greater incentive to show that their own emissions might have to increase in order to reduce the overall emissions. I hope to explore this further.

The first low carbon guide for Low-Carbon IT solutions

As the first deliverable straight to the WWF-HP project we now have a “guidebook” for business: Becoming a winner in a low-carbon economy: IT solutions that help business and the planet”.

Is there low-carbon IT hope in Norway?

Participated in a seminar the Mondag Morgon arranged in Holmenkollen, Oslo. One of the increasing number of conferences/seminars/workshops with a focus on the opportunities that a low carbon economy provides. A pretty traditional setting, but maybe some action could come out from meetings like this. Soon I need to get my criteria for participating in events like these in place (see earlier blog about pledges, web-link possibilities and measurable outcomes as possible criteria). Too many events with too much talk and too little action.

After the seminar I participated at a meeting with Ministry of Government Administration and Reform. This was an interesting meeting and we discussed the challenges to deliver concrete results when results require collaboration outside traditional “boxes”. Two areas where discussed. 1. The challenge to ensure that governments have a responsible person for Low Carbon innovation/IT-solutions. 2. The need for targets that make it possible to follow-up progress

It would be great if Norway could take the lead and be the first country in the world, as far as I know, that would do two things (maybe with the support of WWF): First, review the legislation from a low carbon development perspective and identify possible changes that could support sustainable innovation. Second, explore possibilities to use public procurement to support low carbon IT solutions.

Joint work with Ericsson

Sunday the 8th of June I participated at Ericsson’s GMC where I did a presentation and Carl Henrik Svanberg, the CEO of Ericsson, and I announced the joint project between WWF and Ericsson in two parts (one internal and one external).

External project to position Ericsson as a winner in a low carbon economy (ICT as a provider of Climate Change Solutions). The project will quantify and achieve emissions reductions through the use of ICT solutions. It will show how providers of ICT solutions can play a leading role in providing services that allow societies to increase welfare and reduce energy use at the same time.

Internal emission reductions, Ericsson will together with WWF to set targets for the internal emissions and work to develop standard forms for reporting in this area. This would include both the positive and negative contribution to CO2-emisisons.

After a six years of discussions it is great to see that we finally found a way to move forward together.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

First global IT study about Climate -See how the first billion tonnes of CO2 reductions can be achieved

After almost one year of intensive work the first global IT study about IT's potential to help reduce CO2 emissions is finally ready.

You now have the opportunity to join the work to deliver the first billion tonnes of CO2 reductions with IT solutions. The brand new WWF report “Outline for the first global IT strategy for CO2 reductions: a billion tonnes of CO2 reductions and beyond” is just released and we will launch a number of projects in the near future.

You can download the 9 MB document with full illustrations here.

You can also download a smaller “print friendly” 2.3MB document here.

The report is the final Thought Leadership Paper in a series to highlight the potential for IT to reduce CO2 emissions through transformative change, building in particular on the joint HP/WWF initiative “ICT Innovation as a Driver of Climate Change Solutions”.

Ten strategic IT solutions that together reduce one billion tonnes of CO2 emissions as well as hold the potential to further help accelerate reductions are presented and discussed. The potential is obviously much bigger, but during the work it became evident that looking for the maximum amount of short-term reductions would result in a counterproductive situation that fails to include the even larger potential of IT solutions – the potential to deliver transformative change in society (i.e change in the very infrastructure that supports working, living, moving and eating).

The IT solutions should be implemented under the right circumstances to help reduce direct CO2 emissions as well as support accelerated reductions due to “low-carbon feedback”. This means that we should focus on solutions that not only reduce CO2 directly when they are used, but also strengthen structures that support further emission reductions. IT solutions could, however, also contribute to “high-carbon feedback”, which would have the opposite effect and strengthen structures that support increased emissions. Caution is necessary as the positive or negative outcome depends on how a solution is implemented.

We now look forward to implementation to ensure IT’s positive contributions and achieve the reductions needed to solve the climate challenge.

Please visit to read more. There you will also find the longer academic paper that provided the background for the ten selected solutions.

Oil closer to $140 than ever before in history

The idea to turn the three year old report "Saving the climate @ the speed of light", that I did with Katalin Zomolanyi, into a report called "Saving oil @ the speed of light" and focus on the potential for ICT solutions to reduce oil consumption (as well as CO2 reductions) feels more and more urgent every time oil reached a new price record.

This week oil ended at close to $140, and even if it drops again it feels like infrastructure investments in countries like China and India should take a high oil price into account.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Participated at “Les Assises du Numérique” in Paris

As a preparation for the French presidency of the EU a conference about the digital economy was arranged in France. I was impressed by a presentation by Michèle Pappalardo, from the “Commissaire du développement durable”. She did a very good overview, both the positive and negative potential. She focused on the “98%” (What ICT can do, not the direct effects) and highlighted many of the most important areas. Would be interesting to see if France can ensure that ICT for a low carbon economy becomes a key question during their presidency.

Looking for brains and hearts at Science Po

Did a presentation Friday about winners in a low carbon economy at Science Po. If anything I said made sense at least two of the participants should have done something with a little edge before the end of 2008…

Rockefeller challenges Exxon

Is this a giant step closer to a transformative shift in the climate work? Reading the news about the need for a low carbon economy these days can make you an optimist. But when those who more than anyone else could claim to be the founders of the oil industry think it is time to move on, that is historic.

However, judging from the media coverage it looks like Rockefeller only seems to focus on the supply-side. Maybe this is medias lack of capacity to deal with the demand-side (would not be the first time) or maybe the Rockefeller’s are not as progressive as they need to be (but challenging Exxon takes more guts than most have, the Swedish government should be inspired in their relation to Vattenfall).

Eradicating poverty and saving the climate at the same time

Attended a bilateral donor meeting in Geneva early this week with some of the more progressive donor countries. The theme was climate change, innovation, ICT and poverty. I presented some ideas about ICT and focused on the triangular approach (see Re-think Chinese outward investment flows for background or this new paper about “completing the triangle” for an overview). I’m surprised how easy the poverty work turns reactive and that the focus on ICT in relation to poverty tends to focus almost exclusively on adaptation. The need to move people rapidly out of poverty and use ICT to ensure a rapid and resource efficient development path is really not well explored.

I really would like to follow up on the work in “Sustainability at the speed of light” where the role of ICT and poverty was explored six years ago. With micro finance and much smarter ICT solutions as well as a more widespread understanding of the climate challenge the room for truly sustainable initiatives that deliver results should exist today.