There's an environmental storm about to hit the technology industry. Information and communication technology accounts for 2 percent of global CO2 emissions, according to Gartner. That's the equivalent of the airline industry.
The big question: What are technology executives going to do about it?
For starters, get more efficient. Gartner analyst Simon Mingay says the bright side is that there are so many inefficiencies in IT that there's a lot of low-hanging fruit to bring down CO2 emissions.
However, regulators, product vendors, IT managers and businesses have to be on the same page, said Mingay at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.
In either case, CIOs have to prepare for another issue to worry about--carbon emission caps. If an enterprise is subject to carbon emission caps or involved with a carbon trading scheme it's highly likely that the CIO is going to be asked to cap power use pronto.
"Whether you believe in climate change or not, you have to prepare for that reality," says Mingay. "There's a mistaken belief that IT organizations will be able to continue to consume the power they do today."
Mingay says it's very plausible that CIOs will have to cut IT power consumption. It's also possible that environmental groups could start targeting heavy technology users. "The question is not why should you bother, but what are the risks if you do nothing," says Mingay. Gartner is projecting that by 2010, 50 percent of IT organizations will declare an environmental policy.
CIO goals should be to start a debate about an environmental policy, define a strategy, measure CO2 emissions and create procurement guidelines to improve your company's environmental standing.