Ovum: Climate change and ICT

Climate Change and ICT by Stephen Young, Principal Analyst, Ovum.

This article by Stephen Young published on the free-to-air part of Ovum's web site provides a good summary of the impact of ICT on CO2 emissions and highlights some of the issues raised by the Stern Report by using ICT industry examples.  Here's a direct quote:

"It can help to think of ICT players as either victims, villains or potential heroes of climate change, and it is the latter dimension that Stern seems to miss.

For example, telcos are as likely to be victims of climate change as other network infrastructures, and are already suffering the effects of global warming due to the increasing frequency of severe weather effects. As villains of climate change, telcos use energy to power the telecoms network, to heat and cool buildings, to protect equipment and for transport. But telecommunications is less energy-intensive and carbon-heavy than many other industries. Stern points out that telecoms generates 2.29% of UK economic output, with only 0.82% of the sector's total costs coming from energy.

The deployment of next-generation networks (NGNs) will further reduce telcos' energy usage, but what about the services and applications that sit on the new infrastructure? The rapid growth of web-based services is driving up power demand and CO2 emissions: it is now estimated that the total electricity used in powering and cooling the 2 million servers of the five major search engines is around 5 gigawatts - almost enough to power the Las Vegas metropolitan area on the hottest day of the year. Many telcos and service providers are now implementing specific actions to reduce their carbon emissions by measuring, reducing and offsetting their CO2 emissions."

In his article, Young also references the announcement six months ago by BSkyB to go carbon neutral as a company.

Climate Change and ICT by Stephen Young, Principal Analyst, Ovum.

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