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Knowledge + Power: ICT Impact on Climate Change

By Wayan Vota on November 16, 2009

At this year’s Development Marketplace 2009 (DM2009) finalist event at the World Bank, I was asked a challenging question: What’s the impact of ICT on climate change?

Of course, information and communication technologies help people learn about climate change and share ideas and responses, but ICT actually has a greater, and more direct impact than you might imagine. According to Gartner:

The global information and communications technology (ICT) industry accounts for approximately 2 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a figure equivalent to aviation, according to a new estimate by Gartner, Inc. Despite the overall environmental value of IT, Gartner believes this is unsustainable.

We at Inveneo agree – the developing world cannot continue to rely on dirty and expensive fossil fueled gasoline and diesel generators for the electrical power to run communication equipment.

Wayan Vota’s DM2009 interview

That’s why I answered the question like this:

@Inveneo‘s climate change impact: reducing reliance on diesel generators w/ energy efficient computing & access to green knowledge

How do we do that? By certifying and deploying energy efficient computers that are specifically designed to operate on renewable energies like wind and solar power. That’s also why we certify Power Partners in addition to ICT Partners – clean electricity is just as important as the information it facilitates.

So the next time you are thinking about ICT deployment, especially in a rural or undeserved area where electrical power is an issue, remember that you do have a choice. You can reduce the impact of climate change directly and immediately, even before the community develops an awareness of global warming. When you choose renewable energy sources, not fossil fuels, to power your knowledge sharing ICTs.


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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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