Feeds

Canadian prof: Green IT is a waste of time

Digital nomads will destroy the planet

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A prominent Canadian academic in the tech-policy field has said that "Green IT" initiatives don't work.

"Most of the negative environmental impacts [of IT] occur in the form of completely unintended, second and third order effects," says Professor Richard Hawkins of Calgary Uni. "These 'rebound' effects may not be mitigated by inventing 'greener' IT products and, indeed, may be intensified by such changes."

As an example, the prof cites mobile phones, saying that even if the phone itself has no environmental consequences its existence will still encourage people to move about more - in cars, planes, whatever - than they otherwise would, so contributing to carbon emissions and climate change.

"We didn't adopt the mobile phone so we could drive and talk on the phone, we adopted it because we were already driving so much. Creating a greener cell phone won't reduce the impact of increased mobility. The real question is what amount of mobility is sustainable?"

This line of argument would also no doubt apply to such technologies as mobile push email, voip, video calling, netbooks etc. If you didn't have that smartphone or UMPC you'd stay in the office and burn less transport fuel, sort of thing.

This isn't just your ordinary academic pondering - Hawkins' research may influence global policymakers. He and his team will be presenting their thoughts at a Euro comms-policy conference in Spain next month, and to the UN Earth Summit at the end of the year. This will inform the OECD IT'n'sustainability initiative, among other things.

There are full details from Calgary Uni here. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.