Nearly six billion tons of CO2 emissions could be saved by 2020 through the intensive use of IT, according to a landmark new report released today by analyst firm IDC.
Launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen today, the ICT Sustainability Index ranked the G20 nations according to their ability to reduce emissions through IT.
The UK was ranked in an impressive third place behind the US and leader Japan, and tied with Brazil, France and Germany.
"We looked at the amount of greenhouse gases in the world and then looked at the role of ICT in reducing these emissions," said IDC senior vice president Vernon Turner.
"We identified 17 key technologies in four sectors highlighting the possibility of IT at a country infrastructure level reducing CO2 levels."
IDC said that measures such as industrial process automation and using digital rather than physical paper could go a long way to achieving the goals.
Lorie Ligle, eco-technology general manager at Intel, argued that the report did well to combine traditional environmental measures with IDC's comprehensive ICT data to "give them a good insight into just how well equipped each country is to take action".
"We were intrigued by this work because, in the past 18 months, the industry has been talking about how to keep a balanced focus on reducing the direct emissions from ICT technologies, and how ICT can be applied to reduce CO2 emissions," she said.
"We've had specific case studies, but never a good body of work which quantifies the different technologies and how they can be applied. IDC has also committed to creating data which is really useful to policy makers in giving them some percentage targets."
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