IT industry prepares for Climate Change Bill

18 October 2007

The IT industry will need to start helping businesses meet their carbon targets, according to panellists at a green computing forum.

The Climate Change Bill has already been drafted by Whitehall and will create legislation that aims to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent through domestic and international action by 2050.

This will be based on a system of carbon budgets — which is simply a limit on the total quantity of carbon dioxide emissions a company can churn out over a specified period of time.

Labour MP Alan Whitehead said that, with an election apparently off the cards, the Bill is scheduled to come before parliament within the next year and "represents, within a very short period of time, an enormous decarbonisation of the UK economy".

It has been proposed that each carbon-budget period should be five years long — starting from the beginning of 2008. Businesses that use less than their carbon quota will be able to trade carbon with those exceeding their emissions target.

Speaking at a Green Computing in Practice roundtable, Whitehead said the Bill relies on a national allocation programme so that each UK business is brought into the carbon-budget programme. Currently only 50 percent of the industrial economy is within the allocation programme and the system cannot carry on as it is, said Whitehead.

Whitehead added: "The IT industry will need to change from power hungry to green hungry in a short period of time."

Also speaking at the roundtable, David Angwin, European marketing manager at thin-computing company Wyse Technology, said: "The IT industry's strength is in its ability to innovate and this has not as yet been geared towards reducing carbon emissions."

Angwin added the technologies exist today to bring down carbon emissions but companies need to be driven to adopt eco-friendly technologies by understanding the business benefits of going green and having the right, innovation-friendly legislation in the right places.

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