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Internet Governance 25 November 2009

Greening the Internet

Chair: Arthur Levin (ITU)

Panel members provided their own countries or organisation’s perspectives on how they are greening the internet and use of ICTs. A representative from the European Parliament acknowledged housing and transport as the main contributors of gas emissions and explained how smart systems are already in place in France to address this issue. E-Services are continually being developed as ICTs being linked to the internet have already demonstrated reduced consumer energy.. Cloud computing using data centres create more energy savings. Better solutions are being sourced to focus on waste avoidance and recycling. In developing countries policies are required to help with the disposal of resources that they need but soon become obsolete. Things are moving more slowly for developing countries than they would like. Real issues need to connect with improvements in broader policies.  Jeff Alhadeff of Orachle presented a market perspective sustainability paradigm. ICT is an enabler of sustainable design but it is important that you look at the ecosystem and design around utilities and the organisation of waste. Systems need to be paperless and be associated with cultural and motivational dimensions as they apply to the beneficiaries. ICTs can be used for optimization, savings and dealing with important issues.

George Sadowsky of ICANN stated that we are not just greening the internet but the whole gamut of ICTs. When doing an energy analysis it is important to look at the entire life cycle of a product so that you are finding out the energy cost of manufacture, transmission of info and recycling. Arthur posed the question “Is greening good for business?” Recycling is an important issue – how are we disposing of products that are no longer useful.  Alice Munya of Kenya explained how Kenya too does not have a regulatory framework to handle eWaste. Disposal is haphazard and is usually just combined with other waste. ICTs are increasing, Kenya is digitizing TV and radio so that old models are being refused. What to do with it all? Although other speakers contributed on findings related to eWaste and greening, no-one was able to provide a totally suitable solution to this growing problem.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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