An analyst debate examines whether green IT is a myth or a legitimate effort to improve business by reducing energy consumption.
LAS VEGAS-Is green IT
more than a buzzword when it comes to producing real reductions in
carbon emissions or significant cost savings?
This was the issue debated April 8 at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo here.
Gartner analysts Simon Mingay and Martin Reynolds argued that green IT is
indeed important, while French Caldwell and Charles Smulders argued against
Some folks argue that green IT, the optimal use of information and
communication technology for managing the environmental sustainability of
business operations, is a myth. Others claim it is a crucial factor in how we
Mingay kicked off the pro-green IT argument, noting that scientific analysis
shows climate change is happening quickly, making it vital that we achieve
atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide of 450 parts per million
or less before the world heats up.
Click here to read about how major vendors competed to show their interest in "green" mobile technology at VoiceCon.
"There is good research out there that has shown that as economies
invest in information and communication technology, they decrease the material
intensity, greenhouse gas intensity, energy intensity and transportation of the
economies," Mingay said. He also allowed that while the scientific
analysis could be wrong, the world can't afford to take that chance.
Smulders in his rebuttal said green IT is a fiction, noting that IT accounts
for 2 percent of global emissions. In fact, he said, cattle exude more CO2 in
the United States
than all of the motor vehicles on the road, and that the expected population
explosion from 6 billion to 9 billion in 50 years is more significant than IT
emissions. Moreover, he said carbon emissions cannot be reliably gauged,
throwing any green IT equation out of whack.
Indeed, Smulders said vendors make a lot of marketing noise and do a lot of
"greenwashing" regarding green IT. Few vendors are doing
anything with tangible results unless it involves saving a lot of money, and
companies are hitting walls in their data centers with regard to power
consumption, he contended.