Posted by Rob Bernard 
Chief Environmental Strategist

Two weeks ago, I laid out some of the reasons I and a team of technology and issue experts from Microsoft were traveling to Copenhagen to support the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15).

We’ve recently returned to Seattle, and we’re hopeful that reports that world leaders have finalized a climate change agreement as COP15 will ensure that countries act quickly and meaningfully to secure our climate future.

As I noted before the conference, and as I’m even more convinced today, the world needs to quickly establish emissions-reduction frameworks to address climate change on a global scale.

 

Microsoft’s time at COP15 was geared to help people better understand how IT can help accelerate progress on environmental issues. We showcased a number of technology partnerships, including the Environmental Atlas of Europe, a collaborative effort with the European Environment Agency (EEA) to provide an online digital storytelling platform that includes videos, photos and  data illustrating the local impact of climate change in Europe.

We highlighted the Microsoft technology that powers “Bend the Trend,” an innovative online pledging program developed by the EEA that enables individuals to reduce their carbon emissions.  We showcased another EEA partnership, called Eye on Earth, which provides real-time environmental data to the citizens of Europe.  As Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of EEA observed, “Our environment is changing. We all notice small differences where we live or regularly visit. Eye On Earth gives all of us the opportunity to inform and be informed of such changes. The Microsoft technology behind Eye On Earth and AirWatch makes environmental information much more accessible. As more people understand what's happening in their area, more will contribute to solving environmental problems.”

Other highlights of our time in Copenhagen included meeting with policymakers from around the world, participating in a broad range of panels and demonstrations of the power of IT. to address energy and environment issues, and standing back to watch so many dedicated people come together to tackle one of the greatest global challenges the world faces.

Microsoft is strongly committed to helping develop a range of business and consumer solutions and services that contribute to solving climate change issues.  We participated in COP15 as part of our commitment to work together on these solutions with our partners, customers, suppliers, policymakers and other key stakeholders. My 12-year career at Microsoft has included many proud moments, but the week I spent in Copenhagen stands out among the best. I hope the results coming out of COP15 will provide the frameworks to lead the world towards more environmental and economic security. Microsoft stands ready to help.