/ 4 March 2008

Computing industry ready to fight climate change

Computing-industry leaders claimed on Monday a leading role in the fight against climate change, arguing that software could cut world energy use.

”Green computing” has been adopted as a theme of the CeBIT computing expo, which opens in Hanover, Germany, on Tuesday. The United States-based Climate Savers Computing Initiative is a partner of the trade fair.

IBM Germany chief executive Martin Jetter, who is on the board of the German computing trade federation Bitkom, said software and services could help most other business sectors cut their power use and their carbon footprint.

An end to energy waste is widely seen as one way to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuel.

”Energy-efficient products are needed throughout the economy,” he said at the fairgrounds in Hanover. ”It’s feasible with high-technology innovations.”

The world’s computer and telecommunications systems are estimated to cause about 2% of carbon-dioxide emissions, industry leaders said at a briefing. Those emissions are about equal to the carbon emitted by the world’s aircraft engines.

US market analyst Gartner calculated the figure based on the electricity generated in power stations for the industry. About two-thirds were needed to power computers and their cooling systems and one-third was required in factories to manufacture or recycle them.

The Climate Savers Computing Initiative was founded in the US by Intel and Google and now has further corporate sponsors. It aims to halve power use by computers by 2010.

Fair exhibitors aim to show how they cut waste within computers.

Ernst Raue, a CeBIT organiser, said, ”This is not a public-relations gag. Environmentally friendly information technology will be on the mind of this industry for years to come.” — Sapa-dpa