Political leaders should solve climate change by video conferencing? Er, that seems to be taking this work-from-home mentality a bit far don't you think? Yet it is an argument that was seriously last week put forward by IT firm CloudApps.
Sure using the technology would have cut down on the carbon footprint left by political leaders attending the Rio+20 Earth Summit, but there are some occasions when it is helpful for people to get together to discuss and debate. Solving one of the world's most pressing problems of climate change is one of them.
Of course, there are some - such as my colleagues over at BusinessGreen - who argue that global leaders had no need to be at the Rio+20 Earth Summit at all. They have argued that the draft document had been sealed in advance and the leaders were there for the photo opportunity. If you accept those arguments, it is hard to justify flying the leaders to Brazil.
But really, I don't think this cynical view was the consideration of those who put forward video conference idea. As Cloud Apps argued in its press release: "Political leaders - don't fly to Rio as you are leaving a huge carbon footprint, video conference instead. Lead by example, the technology is available."
The technology is of course available but we need to use it intelligently in business and government. That means using video conferencing when a speaker needs to broadcast information or when a simple discussion needs to take place, not during a worldwide debate that will have repercussions for future generations to come.
Those who believe video conferencing can be used for such important discussions are those that actually set back businesses' work-from-home strategies that could do so much environmental good. Businesses thinking staff will no longer ever see each other do have good reason to worry.
Because video conferencing is green and somewhat efficient, it does deserve more of a place in business and the public sector, but only in moderation.
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