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At Microsoft, we are reminded daily of our industry’s impact on climate change – both positive and negative – and we are working constantly to reduce our carbon footprint and lead the way for others in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. In 2008 we supported an independent study by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) called SMART 2020 to determine the carbon-reducing potential of ICT. The results showed that 7.8 gigatons ofcarbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e), or 15% of global emissions, could be reduced through the use of ICT solutions.
This Monday at the COP18 climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, GeSI and the Boston Consulting Group released SMARTer 2020. This updated report indicates that ICT-enabled solutions now offer the potential to reduce annual emissions by 9.1 GtCO2e by 2020, representing 16.5% of the projected total in that year. This figure represents a potential to reduce carbon emissions by more than 16% compared to the 2008 report, showing an increasing role for technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This week, GigaOM published a guest blog by Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric. Jeff discusses the “Industrial Internet Revolution,” which he argues will have the potential to merge the physical world of machines and facilities with the digital world of big data and analytics in such a way that makes obtaining information more efficient. Viewed as a true problem-solving entity, Immelt writes that the Industrial Internet is about combining the world’s best technologies to solve the biggest challenges, especially issues that impact sustainabilty like energy, infrastructure and smart cities.