The Green Backbone for Climate Change
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we had when we created them.” EinsteinIn the 1990s, we watched the Internet change the standard of living around the world and I’ve always believed that our industry could have a huge impact on the environment and climate change as well. The recent Smart 2020 Report by The Climate Group says that Information Communications Technology (ICT) could have a 22 percent reduction in global Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions by 2020. That’s more than the annual emissions of the U.S. or China! Over the next century, the network will be the green backbone that enables innovative solutions to global environmental challenges.Today, people no longer have to take planes, trains or automobiles to meet in person to get things done. Many of us are now riding the Internet to work and using new Web 2.0 collaboration tools like Unified Communications, TelePresence and Webex to get our jobs done anywhere, anytime and anyplace. These technologies are bringing together people from all over the world, with diverse views, and a singular passion for solving problems like climate change in new ways. It’s this combined power of collaboration and innovation that will create the most sustainable impact on climate change.At Cisco, we believe the Internet is changing the way we work, live play and learn in a more sustainable way. While we are working hard to address what we can impact externally with our customers, governments and thru advocacy, we are also very focused on achieving our own green goals. We recently made a commitment to reduce our GhG emissions via the U.S. EPA Climate Leaders 25% absolute by 2012. We would not have been able to make and meet this commitment without two critical elements, the Cisco EcoBoard and the Cisco Environmental Data Tool (EDT). The EcoBoard is our cross-functional group of leaders that ensures we have a long-term vision, strategy, and governance structure so we’re all moving in the same green direction. Our EDT is an IP-based tool for monitoring, managing and tracking GhGs, that we have made available to the public free of charge.Climate change is a significant problem and no one person, company or country will be able to solve it. According to Gartner, ICT represents approximately 2% of global GhG emissions. While this is a significant challenge, we see the opportunity for the 2% to reduce the other 98%. In essence, ICT has the power to have a much bigger green impact on the rest of the world’s carbon footprint. As the green backbone, the network will be the platform to monitor, manage, and better use the globe’s valuable natural resources in the future.We hope that our new Ecolibrium blog will provide a place to grow our collective ideas about how technology can impact the other 98%. We have an opportunity to use technology to create a new environmental balance. As Einstein noted, “the same level of thinking” isn’t going to cut it. So please, join the conversation, throw out an idea, add to someone else’s idea–it’s easy and it’s powerful. I also encourage you to read our “Strategies for Going Green” visit our new Environmental Sustainability Website, or listen to my podcast on Cisco’s Green Vision. Thanks for checking out our new Ecolibrium blog!