Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, CRM

Agile Computing: Opinion

An Inconvenient Truth: Free Up Market Forces to Tackle Climate Change

You can't legislate for innovation

It was former Presidential Candidate and founder of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) Ross Perot who famously said “The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.”

A quote which may strike resonance with the world’s politicians as they continue to wrestle with the major challenge of setting a global green agenda whilst battling tough economic conditions.

President Obama’s second term inaugural speech certainly won plaudits for his determination to tackle climate change, his powerful statements deliberately pitched to be emotive on a global stage, whilst reassuring an American nation still reeling from the effects of hurricane Sandy.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” And “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.” Now the world waits to see how these noble and heartfelt words translate from the pages to become actions?

And if the truth be known, the world is not holding its breath.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, stated that he would ‘do his best to mobilise the political will and resources so that the member states can agree to a new legally binding global agreement on climate change” and this on the back of two decades of UN climate talks that have so-far failed in their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Ironically it may not be the promise of new green jobs and taxation penalties ‘for the guilty ‘that tips the scales in favour of action but the force of Mother Nature herself. The devastation caused by natural disasters such as tsunamis and hurricanes impacts hugely on already fragile economic budgets (according to a report by insurance company Swiss Re, natural disasters were estimated to have cost the world's economies $140 bn in 2012 and over $350 bn in 2011)

No one seriously doubts that the world’s leaders do not want genuine and sustainable change but there is a real need now to cut through the greenwash and rhetoric and start delivering. We are already witnessing shifting priorities as Governments struggle with recession and debt crises. A move away from fossil fuels has long been touted as a key objective in the worldwide battle to reduce greenhouse gases, and yet in January, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that global investment in all renewable energy had fallen by 11% in 2012, due largely to drops in government support in the US, Spain and Italy.

Last November, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that whilst the use of renewable energy was growing ‘quickly’, largely driven by Government subsidies, traditional fossil fuels received six times more subsidy than their low carbon counterparts.

But it’s not all bad news. Set against the pessimistic political outlook, real progress is being made at the coalface. The private sector, particularly technology industries, is embracing its environmental responsibilities and is citing traditional market forces as the driver - cost savings, competitive advantage, operational efficiency, customer and employee pressure, corporate policy and opportunity.

And it’s a big opportunity. Consultants Roland Berger recently predicted that the global market for environmental technology and resource efficiency currently totals more than €2tn and will grow at an annual rate of 5.6 per cent on average to the end of 2025.

The data centre industry for example, for so long viewed as an energy hungry monster and an easy target for Government legislators, is proving extremely adept at rising to the environmental challenge.

A recent survey of 1,110 global data centre owners and operators undertaken by the Uptime Institute revealed that 82 percent of respondents viewed energy-efficiency improvements as a way to reduce operational costs. Of those decision makers, 8 percent described their pursuit of energy efficiencies as motivated by a desire to keep pace with their industry peers and 47 percent said they were looking to free up capacity.  Microsoft’s announcement that it’s new $348M data centre planned for Virginia will be carbon neutral and built using the latest energy efficient technologies is testament to the Industry’s focus.

And of course the software and applications hosted in these data centres offer the world a raft of technological innovations that could aid us in the long term.

Innovation and a desire to reduce environmental impact is not hard to find in the private sector. As the world prepares to celebrate Valentine’s Day, UK retailer Marks & Spencer announces that it will be delivering thousands of bouquets in modified atmosphere packaging, saying it will save 10,000 litres of water through the use of this technology. How many people wandering around West Ham Tube station during last year's London Olympics realised that they generating kinetic power through the paving slabs they were walking on? UK start up Pavegen was in the midst of demonstrating that heavily populated streets could potentially generate enough electricity to power lights and applications. Many firms are now tackling the evil greenhouses gases head on and are harnessing and converting CO2 into products as diverse as baking soda, cement and plastic, all in the hope that their entrepreneurialism leads to both profit and the greater good.

Many economists agree that the best way to tackle climate change is to allow market forces to flourish whilst the most divisive method is to mandate or over legislate.

Obama’s first term was marked by the failure of his sweeping carbon emissions cap, the Australian Government suffered bruising after a failed attempt to introduce a Carbon Reduction schemes and more recently UK Prime Minister David Cameron was left to explain away the apparent apathy towards the Coalition's flagship "Green Deal" energy efficiency scheme claiming it was deliberately designed to “build slowly”.

What all Governments across the Globe are fast discovering is that the economic issue of climate change is complex and that no one size fits all ‘green solution’ will ever work for any industry.

Companies, and indeed consumers, must be given both the choice and the chance to adopt a ‘green’ model that suits their needs and that they can personally engage with on an emotional and fiscal level.

Allow us the freedom to become Activists.

Image from Shutterstock.

More Stories By Phil Worms

Phil is a 30 year IT industry veteran with a passion for education and has personally led many school and higher education initiatives designed to engage young people and showcase the broad range of exciting and fulfilling roles in IT.

A full and varied career has seen Phil move through various senior product/project and marketing positions with companies as diverse as Centrica plc, One.Tel, VarTec Telecom and iomart Group plc. Phil is working on a project to create an intergenerational social hub that will celebrate creativity and achievement in Helensburgh, birthplace of television pioneer John Logie Baird.The Heroes Centre will provide people of all ages with the new media and content creation skills required to engage fully in the digital world. Follow his progress on Twitter and on Facebook

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...