Reducing ICT-related Carbon Emissions: An Exemplar for Global Energy Policy?
While controversy swirls globally about carbon emissions and electricity use, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector has achieved significant, positive results already, especially in the developed nations. Some central processing units have reduced power use by 90% or more, and data centers are achieving previously unimaginable results in decreasing the use of electrical power. Several of the leading approaches to this improvement, sometimes called “Green IT”, are discussed, including E-waste mitigation, data center economies like virtualization and PUE improvement, telework and telepresence, smart grid devices, power management technologies, cloud computing, and dematerialization. In addition, several ICT power rating systems and return-on-investment methodologies are examined. Finally, as a brief example of a national agenda for ICT-specific focus on energy management, the case of Australia is described. Even though ICT represents only about 3–5% of the world’s electrical use, its aggressive, successful, and continuing pursuit of reduced electricity use and lower carbon footprint is a model for other sectors.
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