Enabling IT innovations
The scientific urgency of climate change demands that we need a clean energy revolution, not a slow transition. Simply making the current dirty energy platform smarter or more modern is not enough to reach the level of reductions needed. We need a revolution in the way we produce and consume energy.
The clean energy revolution can only be catalyzed by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector due to its unique position of being able to provide wide scale solutions needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and create low carbon economies needed in the future. This is a win-win situation for the sector - the planet gains from IT solutions; the companies gain from providing these solutions.
Greenpeace has been interacting with the ICT sector and has got it to actively consider ways of reducing its role in runaway climate change. In 2009, we released the Cool IT Challenge assessment report. It ranked 12 global ICT brands on issues of climate leadership and business solutions to control climate change. Greenpeace has thrown the challenge and looks forward to a revolution within the ICT sector.
The power of ICT as future solution provider contrasts with its rising carbon footprint. Indian ICT sector is responsible for 10 % of global ICT emission and with an annual growth rate of 12-16 % this will further grow to make India second largest carbon emitter after China by 2020.
A rapid increase in demand for online services is increasing the number of data-centers and network towers. While companies have been focusing on efficiency to cut enterprise costs, their growth offsets efficiency gains made in new IT infrastructure. Further, these also widen the existing gap in demand – supply of energy.
Greenpeace therefore plans to identify the critical consequence of ICT’s growing footprint in general to expose the link between growing ICT infrastructure and increased expansion of fossil based power generation. This will help establish the fact that the current business as usual approach will not sustain business growth in a climate constrained scenario. Therefore, the companies need to decouple their growth from emission and invest in low-carbon energy sources.