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Tuesday’s State of the Union address has dominated environmental news coverage this week following President Obama’s commitment to aggressively combat climate change in his second term with investments in renewable energy and a renewed focus on boosting energy efficiency in buildings. Some other news stories this week shed light on approaches to combatting climate change, including the role of renewable energy, which received attention in a new factbook from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and how IT is behind some of the globe’s smart cities.
There is a significant amount of energy wasted by applications because of how they are designed and operated. Typically there are more than enough IT resources provisioned as a buffer to ensure performance, which leads to a lot of wasted energy when use for that application is low. Cloud computing platforms like Windows Azure provide the ability to break this cycle of over-provisioning by allowing developers to have more control over resource use and IT costs.
Sage, a major business software solution provider, was working on a project to expand their on-premises enterprise management system to allow their customers to have easier and quicker access to information as well as reduce their costs. With their on-premises solution, it was difficult for workers in the field to get timely information. Since there were more manual processes involved, that information could be prone to error.
Last week’s State of the Union address included a major focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and this week’s news has a number of stories showing how the private sector is making progress toward those goals. Environmental writer and strategist Andrew Winston published a case study in the Harvard Business Review on Diageo North America, a multi-billion dollar spirits company that has emerged as a leader in decreasing their carbon emissions. Greentech Media also showed that energy efficiency is more crucial to economic productivity than energy production and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a very interesting fact on new energy capacity.
At Microsoft, we understand how quickly information technology impacts society. This video with chief environmental strategist Rob Bernard addresses how the cloud is at the forefront of transforming society—and why that’s good news for the environment.
This week, Forbes wrote a piece on Greensmith, a small start-up making a huge difference in energy storage by combining both hardware and software to enhance storage of renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Globally, South Africa has announced its plan to start taxing carbon emissions beginning in January 2015, with the goal of cutting carbon emissions by 33 percent over the next decade.