Copenhagen lessons on green IT

After the global financial crisis placed green IT on the back-burner, is it about to become sexy again due to the likes of New Zealand's new emissions trading scheme?

Growing up in a recession-hit Thatcher's Britain, I was once told there are lies, damned lies and unemployment statistics.

I also recall the old joke about a king seeking an accountant, who asked the candidates what "two plus two" was. One said it was "three", another replied "four", another "five", but the one who got the job answered, "whatever it is you want it to be!" This all seems to sum up the Climategate email controversy and weather records.

Initial reports did focus on the technology of leaks, whistleblowers and lost or "thrown away" data, rather than whether or not global warming is just hot air.

Now, the economic fate of the world seems to depend on thermometers posted in and around airports or Wellington car parks, plus the rings of a few trees in Siberia.

We can leave the politics to other websites but there will be lessons for the technology community to learn from the fall-out of Climategate and Copenhagen. If you are to be trusted, data has to be secured, made safe from any hacking or leakage by whistleblowers, or not be somehow "lost", as is alleged concerning those emails. Now, New Zealand has adopted an Emissions Trading Scheme, and whether Australia adopts one or not, both countries are likely to see more expensive power.

We might not see the individual carbon ration cards as proposed by one UK government advisor, but the "carbon footprint" of an organisation will be increasingly important, as well as the running costs of power-hungry technology devices and systems.

After being placed on a recession-hit back-burner, "Green IT" will be sexy again.

IT staffers may well have to deal with carbon audits as part of their assessment of technology purchases. New software will certainly be needed for the larger firms and those industries will have to buy and sell carbon permits.

It will all add to the work of the IT department. But we should remember, this is all for the good of the planet! In the meantime, showing Gaia has a great sense of humour, I see the weather forecast for Copenhagen this week is for heavy snow and freezing cold!

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