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Dell calls on customers to contribute to carbon-neutral computing

PC giant twigs on to global warming

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CES 2007 Dell has announced it will plant sufficient trees to absorb all the atmospheric carbon dioxide generated by power plants producing the electricity used to drive its computers for a three-year period.

The scheme, dubbed Plant a Tree for Me, will see notebook and desktop buyers given the chance to donate $2 or $6, respectively, to fund Dell's arboreal activity. Or rather Dell will pass the money on to non-profit organisations that will handle the planting, in sustainably managed forests.

Dell didn't say whether it would be donating any money of its own, or would simply be relying on its customers' good intentions. Noticeable absent from the list of machines in the programme are servers, which not only consumer more energy in a given timeframe than either notebooks or desktops, but also tend to be kept powered up for longer.

Still, it's a step in the right direction, and Dell chairman Michael Dell said he hopes the scheme will point the way for other computer vendors to follow. While the Plant a Tree for Me programme may not immediately lead to carbon-neutral computing, again it's one thing the computer industry and its customers can do to tackle global warming, a trend many experts claim is a significant threat to life on the planet.

Dell's move comes four months after VIA announced a similar programme centred on its energy-efficient C7-D processor. Unlike Dell, VIA said it would fund tree-planting itself, contributing each time it sells a C7-D. Other processors are not included in the scheme. ®

Read our complete CES 2007 coverage at Reg Hardware

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