Green Internet and Cyber-infrastructure Overview
Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The current preferred approaches are to impose carbon taxes and implement various forms of cap and trade. However another approach to help reduce carbon emission is to “reward” those directly who reduce their carbon footprint and complement their existing lifestyle. One possible reward system is to provide homeowners with free fiber to the home or free wireless products and other electronic services such as ebooks and eMovies if they deploy micro renewable energy sources for their ICT equipment and use eVehicles for energy transportation. Not only does the consumer benefit, but this business model also provides new revenue opportunities for small businesses, network operators, and eCommerce application providers.
Linking renewable energy with the Internet using 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. For more details please see:
How North American suburban sprawl could be the answer to global warning: http://goo.gl/UDz37
Free High Speed Internet to the Home: http://goo.gl/wGjVG
High level architecture of Building Zero Carbon Networks: http://goo.gl/juWdH
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Must watch video: The Iron Law of Climate Change Policy and why we must move to adaptation
[Here is an excellent video of a lecture given by noted political economist Roger Pielke Jr that powerfully demonstrates the challenge we face in trying to prevent climate change:
http://goo.gl/1QKl0. To date most efforts addressing Climate Change have been focused on mitigation strategies such as increasing energy efficiency and/or using renewable energy sources . The fundamental philosophy of mitigation strategies is that we can still prevent the onset of climate change or at least keep the global average temperature below 2°C to prevent more severe outcomes.
Unfortunately despite the best intentions of many committed individuals and organizations, we are currently headed in the opposite direction. Even where there is political and public acceptance for Climate Change a number of economists argue that the public will never be prepared to make the huge sacrifices and substantial investments to avoid the worst possible outcomes. This is especially true in developing countries who are now starting to experience first world energy consuming life styles. In his this video Roger Pielke explains his famous Iron Law on Climate Change: “When policies on emissions reductions collide with policies focused on economic growth, economic growth will win out every time. “ The unavoidable reality is that policy makers and the public at large are committed to sustaining economic growth, raising society out of poverty, and expanding access to energy. GHG emission reductions will not be achieved by policies that seek to constrict or reduce economic activity.
As such many scientists and thought leaders are starting to argue, given the political climate, and that economic growth will always trump any meaningful economic costs to reduce GHG emissions we need to seriously think the unthinkable: we are unlikely to undertake any meaningful reduction in GHG emission and consequently we must prepare ourselves and society as a whole to adapt to a much warmer planet. President Obama’s National Science Advisor, Dr John Holdren said it most succinctly in his address to the National Climate Adaptation Summit: “Mitigation alone won’t work, because the climate is already changing, we’re already experiencing impacts. Nothing we can do in the mitigation domain can stop it overnight, so a mitigation only strategy would be insanity... we’re going to have to maximize both mitigation and adaptation.”
We don’t have to wait until the end of the century to be seriously affected by Climate Change. Already we are starting to see evidence of such extreme weather events directly linked to climate change such as the 2011 drought in South West United States and Mexico and the 2010 forest fires in Russia. This year’s warm spring in eastern North America, the floods in Pakistan and forest fires in Russia are only a mild precursor to what is expected in the coming decade.
All sectors of society are going to be impacted by these extreme weather events. This is especially true for the ICT sector. Unfortunately most work in the ICT sector is still focused on mitigation largely through energy efficiency. Given the imminent increase in severe weather and other dramatic climate impacts in the coming decade and the years beyond, and with little hope of global political will to deal with the problem, we need to seriously think of an adaptation strategy for ICT, even it is only for a worst case planning analysis. While we should not abandon mitigation strategies such as increased energy efficiency, it is time now to seriously look at how ICT sector itself can “adapt” to a warming planet as well as assist other sectors of society in their adaptation strategies. More importantly any adaptation strategy, should, by its own right, be a complementary mitigation process as well.
Thankfully a number of research groups have been looking at this problem for some time and have been experimenting with adaptation solutions that enable ICT products and networks to survive severe climate change. The foremost example of such an approach is the CANARIE funded GreenStar project led by researchers at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada. The Greenstar project was the first in the world to conceive of deploying what is called a “follow the wind/follow the sun” architecture of a global computing cloud and network where all the compute nodes are powered solely by renewable energy such as solar panels, wind mills and hydro electric power. The system is designed such that when the wind dies, or the sun sets at a given node the computing jobs and tasks are immediately forwarded to another node which has power, located elsewhere in the world over a high speed optical network. The system operates completely independent of the local electrical grid and can provide services regardless of the state of the local power system. Not only is it designed to survive a much warmer planet it is a nearly a low carbon mitigation architecture in its own right. – BSA]
R&E Network and Green Internet Consultant.
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