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UN powers tech-led green initiative

November 22, 2013 Written by Jonathan Brandon

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The UN Climate Change secretariat and the GeSI will partner to promote the use of cloud and ICT for cutting greenhouse gasses The UN Climate Change secretariat on Friday announced a partnership with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), a consortium of telcos, vendors and cloud service providers to highlight the use of ICT and cloud-based technologies for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The GeSI, which counts HP, Microsoft, Blackberry and Vodafone among its 30 members and was founded in 2001 as a UN initiative says the increased use of ICT can cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 16.5 per cent and save $1.9tn in energy and fuel costs by 2020. The organisations will promote and report on increasing energy efficiency of telecommunications networks and datacentres, implementing virtualisation, cloud and video conferencing technology, enabling smart grids and increasing the number of renewable energy sources. ICT has an essential role to play in putting the world on a low-carbon path, said UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres. The way we do business and provide critical services is shaped by mobility and connectivity. As urban populations grow, ICT can help ensure that growth evolves in the most sustainable way possible. Concerted action by policy-makers to use ICT is an extremely important part of powering a green revolution. GeSI chairman Luis Neves said the organisations partnership with the UN would help showcase how ICT-driven changes can effectively contribute towards the development of a low-carbon economy. These technologies can also help businesses save money, a

notion that is sometimes (at least perceived to be) at odds with low carbon initiatives, and create upwards of 30 million new jobs globally over the next six years, according to the organisation. Virtualisation initiatives such as cloud computing and video conferencing are reducing the need for business travel. Grid optimisation and renewable integration programs are helping to address key energy efficiency and carbon challenges. Automation in manufacturing and smart initiatives in the agriculture sector also represent some of the opportunities that ICT can facilitate, Neves said. We need more focus on how ICT can facilitate the kind of transformative change required to make a difference in the fight against climate change. Only by working together can we improve efficiency, productivity and cost savings, and in doing so improve the quality of life for the billions here today and those still to come. he said. Cloud service providers like Google, Microsoft and IBM have long worked to make their operations greener and more energy efficient for a combination of CSR and cost reasons. Google relies on renewable energy sourcesto power a number of its global datacentres, and in the US the company has even begun generating renewable energy selling excess supply back into the grid. Meanwhile both IBM and Microsoft are both looking at improving energy efficiency in the datacentre by innovating within the stack itself.

Tags; GeSI, Google, green cloud, IBM, Microsoft, renewable energy, United Nations, News & Analysis