[One of the greatest challenges facing the planet is global warming.
Governments around the world are wrestling with various strategies on how
to reduce our collective carbon footprint. Carbon taxes are seen as the
best solution, but are meeting with stiff political resistance
particularly with the recent dramatic increases in gasoline prices. Cap
and trade systems are the other preferred approach, but also have
significant uncertainties in terms of their actual ability to reduce CO2
However, over the past couple of months a couple of new studies indicate
that the Internet and ICT can possibly have a bigger impact in reducing
CO2 than either carbon taxes and cap and trade systems. There is no
question that the Internet and ICT will play an important role in reducing
CO2 emissions, but the surprising development is the degree to which the
Internet and ICT might contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
The first indication of the new found importance of the Internet and ICT
in reducing CO2 emissions was an economic modeling study done by Dr Yuji
INOUE, President & CEO The Japanese Telecommunication Technology
Committee, the results of which he presented at the ITU Summit on Green IT
in Kyoto this past April.
Dr Inoue demonstrated that it is possible for Japan to reach 90% of its
Kyoto targets strictly through the application of ICT. As with all
economic forecasting models there are lot of untested and unproven
assumptions, and this study is no different. But even if the application
of Dr Inoue’s models only result in 50% or even 25% of the Kyoto targets,
this is still a very, very significant development, and means that ICT
will still have the biggest impact in reducing CO2 emissions compared to
any other conventional approach such as carbon taxes and cap and trade.
The other study that indicates the significance of Internet and ICT was
just published by the Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability
Initiative (GeSI)and states that "The Smarter technology use could reduce
global emissions by 15 per cent and save global industry $US 800 billion
in annual energy costs by 2020.
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
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."
One of the biggest contribution to reducing CO2 emissions by Internet and
ICT is through “virtualization” or “de-materialization” of existing
physical products and services. For business and universities this means
first virtualizing all their existing computers, databases and laboratory
equipment and using grids, clouds or “virtual” instances of the same
equipment at zero carbon data centers located at distant renewable energy
sites. It also means adapting new business process and procedures that
eliminate as much as possible the manufacturing and shipping of goods as
well as employee or researcher travel.
For consumers, this means delivery of movies, music, books and other
products as electronic equivalents delivered over broadband networks. The
elimination of power hungry PCs and printers to be replaced by solar
powered PDAs or similar devices is also essential. It also means the
development of new incentive and reward programs using electronic products
and service to reward consumers to reduce their carbon footprint in other
aspects of their daily life from driving the car to heating or cooling
If we adopt these techniques now it might be possible to achieve 50-90% of
the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that is required by 2020 to keep
the global temperature increase under 2C. For more details and other
detailed estimates please see my blog at
Energy Internet and eVehicles Overview
Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to prepare society for inevitable climate change. To date most people have been focused on how to reduce Green House Gas emissions, but now there is growing recognition that regardless of what we do to mitigate against climate change the planet is going to be significantly warmer in the coming years with all the attendant problems of more frequent droughts, flooding, sever storms, etc. As such we need to invest in solutions that provide a more robust and resilient infrastructure to withstand this environmental onslaught especially for our electrical and telecommunications systems.
Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with eVehicles and dynamic charging where vehicle's batteries are charged as it travels along the road, may provide for a whole new "energy Internet" infrastructure for linking small distributed renewable energy sources to users that is far more robust and resilient to survive climate change than today's centralized command and control infrastructure. For more details please see:
Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top: http://goo.gl/wGjVG
High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change: http://goo.gl/juWdH
Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet http://goo.gl/niWy1g
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Internet & ICT may play a bigger role in reducing CO2 than carbon taxes
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