Green Moore’s law for IT?

Green Moore's LawE-waste is  serious business, if not proper handled it can cause severe environmental damage and harm to human health. How about the use of toxic chemicals in IT devices will be cut in half every 18 months?

Annie Leonard, famous of the “Story of Stuff” project, hit big with an viral video launched in 2007 that took on our consumer economy made another video. Her latest video project, developed in partnership with the Electronics TakeBack Coalition explore the high-tech revolution’s collateral damage  (25 million tons of e-waste) and suggests developing a “green Moore’s Law” for electronics.

Isn’t it a great idea to define a green IT Moore’s Law as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), that is cutting in half the use of toxic chemicals in IT devices every 18 months?

How Greener IT Can Form a Solid Base For a Low-Carbon Society

Greening ITWe have a launch off, the book Greening IT is finally published online (free to download), and in print. The book aims at promoting awareness of the potential of Greening IT, such as Smart Grid, Cloud Computing, Thin Clients and Greening Supply Chains. The chapter “Why Green IT is Hard – An Economic Perspective” is my contribution to this book. See Greening IT and read the following press release.

New book contributes to Greening IT

Information Technology holds a great potential in making society greener. Information Technology will, if we use it wisely, lead the way to resource efficiency, energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions – taking us to the Low-Carbon Society.

The IT sector itself, responsible for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, can get greener by focusing on energy efficiency and better technologies – we call this Green IT. Yet, IT also has the potential to reduce the remaining 98% of emissions from other sectors of the economy – by optimising resource use and saving energy etc. We call this the process of Greening IT. IT can provide the technological fixes we need to reduce a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors of society and obtain a rapid stabilisation of global emissions. There is no other sector where the opportunities for greenhouse gas emission reductions, through the services provided, holds such a potential as the IT industry”, says Adrian Sobotta, president of the Greening IT Initiative,   Founding Editor and author of the book.

In her foreword to the book, European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard writes: “All sectors of the economy will need to contribute…, and it is clear that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have a key role to play. ICTs are increasingly recognised as important enablers of the low-carbon transition. They offer significant potential – much of it presently untapped – to mitigate our emissions. This book focuses on this fundamental role which ICTs play in the transition to a low-carbon society.”

The book aims at promoting awareness of the potential of Greening IT, such as Smart Grid, Cloud Computing and thin clients. It is the result of an internationally collaborative, non-profit making, Creative Commons-licensed effort – to promote greening IT.

There is no single perfect solution; Green IT is not a silver bullet. But already today, we have a number of solutions ready to do their part of the work in greening society. And enough proven solutions and implementations for us to argue not only that IT has gone green, but also that IT is a potent enabler of greenhouse gas emission reductions”, says Adrian Sobotta.

It is clear that the messages in the book put a lot of faith into technologies. Yet, technologies will not stand alone in this immense task that lies before us. “Technology will take us only so far. Changing human behaviour and consumption patterns is the only real solution in the longer-term perspective”, continues Adrian Sobotta. IT may support this task, by confronting us with our real-time consumption – for instance through Smart Grid and Smart Meters – thereby forcing some of us to realise our impact.

But technologies, such as Green Information Technologies, are not going to disperse themselves. Before betting on new technologies, we need to establish long-term security of investments. And the only way to do this is to have an agreed long-term set of policy decisions that create the right incentives to promote the development we need.

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Green IT is Hard

A New Book in Town

Did you already have a look at Greening.IT ?
This weekend a next public draft release of our book, on how IT can be used to build a Low-Carbon Society, will be published and can be downloaded. Our mission is to write an internationally collaborative non-profit book on Green IT in order to increase awareness of the possibilities of IT in building a Low Carbon Society.
The chapter “Why Green IT is Hard” is a personal contribution to this book. To give you some idea, here is the abstract and a word cloud:

Why Green IT is Hard

An Economic Perspective

According to the common view, Green IT comes down to implementing technical measures. The idea is that, given better power management of equipment in the workspace (such as laptops and pc’s), more efficient power usage of servers, storage and network components, virtualization of servers, better power and cooling management in data centers, the problems can be solved. In this article, But is this really true? The reason IT is not green at this moment is at least as much due to perverse incentives. Green IT is about power and money, about raising barriers to trade, segmenting markets and differentiating products. Many of the problems can be explained more clearly and convincingly using the language of economics:  asymmetric information, moral hazard, switching and transaction costs and innovation. Green IT is not a technical problem but an economical problem to be solved.

Why Green IT is Hard

A word cloud of the chapter Why Green IT is Hard

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