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COP15: Where Does the Conclusion to Copenhagen Leave the ICT Industry and Why Should An IT Professional Care ?

By Simon Mingay | December 22, 2009 | 0 Comments

In the melee that was the last few days of the Climate Summit negotiations in Copenhagen many things fell down the cracks, including information and communications technology (ICT). No sign of the text that the ITU and others were trying to get added.  Nothing binding or definitive for the enterprise carbon management software providers or any ICT solution provider to get their teeth into and use as the catalyst for investment by enterprises in such solutions.

While business in general had no direct part in the negotiations, there were lots of side events going on that presented opportunities to get points over and network. The main thing being that the industry was visible and vocal at the Summit. The industry put itself in a position where it could be heard by the media, by other industries, and by the limited number of policy makers/influencers that had the time and inclination to listen. It was visible, vocal and engaged.  Not as much as it could have been, not as effective as it could have been had it been speaking with more of a consolidated voice. But a step forward.

The actual influence such engagement has had is difficult to judge, but will emerge over the next 2 years as we see debate and negotiations continue, and as the inevitable changes to policy start to emerge.

If we see investment and fiscal measures emerge at the national, regional and State levels over the next 2 years that directly puts money into ICT enabled solutions or encourages investment by public and private sector organizations in ICT that addresses energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, then it will have been a success for the industry.

Regardless of your views on climate change, as an IT professional this is important because any such policy related fiscal measures over the next 5 years will shape investments in ICT by organizations as we see the role of ICT increasingly being focused on energy and material efficiency.

My favourite slide of the fortnight was one of Chris Tuppen’s (BT’s Chief Sustainability Officer), showing the nature of the transformation to a low carbon economy. It highlighted the areas of the UK economy where efficiencies would need to occur (see slide 4). That being mostly industrial processes, heating buildings, transport and energy generation.

Energy and material efficiency as topics are going to stop being pretty dull, and are going to be become very interesting (again).

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