Posted by Rob Bernard Chief Environmental Strategist
Next week, I and a dozen of my Microsoft colleagues will be in Copenhagen as a delegation of issue and technology experts supporting the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP15).We are participating in a series of briefings, events, and partnership launches to showcase the power of information technology to help address the daunting energy and climate challenges the world faces.
Solving these challenges will require dramatic gains in energy conservation and broader use of renewable and zero-carbon energy sources. Microsoft envisions a clean energy ecosystem where information technology:
Microsoft believes climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention, and we are acting accordingly. We are pursuing strategies and taking actions that demonstrate our strong commitment to reduce our own environmental impact and the impact of our products. We have adopted abroad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to create emissions reduction frameworks to address climate change. While world leaders have indicated they won’t reach a final agreement in Copenhagen, COP15 and subsequent climate negotiations are important opportunities to advance these frameworks on a global scale.
A growing number of governments and scientists have endorsed a goal of limiting global average temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in 2007, meeting this goal will require a 50 to 85 percent global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The scale of those proposed reductions is ambitious, but we see many ways information technology can help achieve those targets. A report by The Climate Group found that by 2020, deployment of existing IT applications -- ranging from virtual meetings energy management tools for buildings and homes -- can cut global carbon emissions 15 percent, eliminating more carbon emissions annually than are currently released by all sources in the United States.
The greatest contribution Microsoft can make to the fight against climate change is our expertise on the role software and technology can play in reducing carbon emissions. To this end, we are working to advance public policies that promote the use of IT solutions to advance energy efficiency, spur innovation and economic opportunity, and contribute to practical strategies for mitigating climate change. Policymakers can accelerate these actions and optimize the contribution IT can make to a sustainable energy economy in several ways :
We welcome the chance to work together on these solutions with our partners, customers, suppliers, policymakers and other key stakeholders. We encourage policymakers to adopt policies to stimulate the technology innovation needed to sustain healthy economies in an increasingly carbon-constrained and energy-hungry world. For more on our work on this topic, please see www.microsoft.com/environment, which will include a special COP15 section next week.