The Role of the ICT Industry in Copenhagen and the Climate Change Debate

As the UN Climate Change Convention closes its first week in Copenhagen, HP is in attendance to support our global leaders as they work towards an agreement on the reduction of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. HP is also attending with the intent to encourage negotiators to fully leverage the potential of innovation and technology to drive the transition to a low carbon economy.

The information and communication technology (ICT) industry is responsible for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, including product manufacturing and use. While, as an industry, we strive to reduce our footprint, the greater opportunity is using IT to address the other 98 percent. The Smart2020 report by The Climate Group, with analytical support from McKinsey, estimates that ICT has the potential of reducing global GHG emissions by 15 percent from business as usual by 2020, while saving over $900 billion. This is based on current technology, without including the added benefits of future innovation.

The sooner we can apply information technology to the problem of climate change, the greater our ability to make a difference. By embedding intelligence and transparency, we can drive greater energy and resource efficiency in energy-intensive, and carbon-heavy processes.

This week IDC, with support from HP, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, Intel, and Schneider Electric, published a white paper entitled "Reducing Greenhouse Gases Through Intense Use of Information and Communication Technology." The paper examines and provides guidance on the technologies that can help build a low-carbon economy, and how business and government leaders can get the benefits of those technologies. Through IDC's research and assessment of the technologies selected, the paper states that intensive use of technology can reduce emissions by over 25 percent annually by 2020 compared with 2006 levels. The paper highlights that Core ICT (datacenter and communications infrastructure that underpins emission-reducing technologies) needs to scale to make it possible to get optimal savings discussed throughout the paper and minimize the contribution it makes to emissions.

Additionally, showing the possibility of how ICT can help the other 98 percent, IDC found that buildings offer a large possibility of savings by using ICT-enabled smart building systems. By using ICT to optimize their supply chains, transport can also obtain a large amount of savings.

HP has long been developing products and solutions to help our customers meet the challenge of climate change. As an example, recently we set ourselves a goal to reduce the total energy consumption and associated GHG emissions from the use of products sold by HP by 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of 2011.* And, there are already many low-carbon IT solutions available today such as video collaboration, smart grid, and digital print and publishing.

IT solutions for a low-carbon economy are not just good for the IT industry, they're good for our customers as they will enable dramatic savings in energy and resource costs. Additionally, they are good for the climate as they represent one of our best chances to meet ambitious GHG reduction goals. This is the type of win-win-win proposition that offers the best chances to tackle climate change in a way that fosters economic growth. HP believes IT solutions can help all countries, particularly developing economies building their infrastructure, achieve rapid economic development with a lower dependency on fossil fuels.

HP will continue to focus on the energy issue, but a larger effort is required. Through collaborations with our customers, NGOs and investors, we are striving to address the issue. We are actively working with WWF Climate Savers and The Climate Group to define and support effective policies to contain climate change and help transform the economy to low carbon.

Climate change is one of the most serious environmental and economic challenges facing the world today and mitigating its effects must be a top priority.

*Average energy efficiency per unit shipped using IDC-reported figures for 2005, across identified high-volume product families, using industry standard measurement benchmarks. Identified product families include notebook and desktop computers, inkjet and LaserJet printers, and industry-standard servers.