A Recap of the Sights and Sounds of COP15

Friday, January 8, 2010 |

By Lorie Wigle, President
Climate Savers Computing Initiative

While the negotiations generated the headlines at the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference, there was also a good deal of discussion on the role of technology in providing the means of achieving whatever targets are set in the coming year. I had the opportunity to participate in several events that were enlightening in content and set in a remarkable context.

I mentioned the Green IT Panel in my previous blog post, however I wanted to elaborate on this educational debate on the role of technology in mitigating climate change. The event was kicked off by Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Lykke Friis and moderated by Professor Jacqueline McGlade, the executive director of the European Environment Agency. Professor McGlade was quite a dynamic discussion leader with very engaging questions and a great rapport with the audience. In addition to the usual discussion about smart grids, employee engagement and 2 percent (ICT’s carbon emissions) vs. 98 percent (other industries’ emissions that could be mitigated by use of technology) there were excellent discussions about how we can enable visualization of energy use and how capabilities such as telework could ultimately move system boundaries. For example, if enough people work from home, ultimately we might need fewer roads, different communications infrastructure and evolved social networking tools. Not only was the conversation engaging, but the best part of the experience was absolutely the setting. Below is an image of “Old Stock Exchange” where the debate was held. We HAD to think big thoughts in such an environment!


Another event that was especially memorable was a trade fair put on during the weekend called Bright Green, and it was a testimony to the plethora of technology innovations available for energy efficiency, renewable energy and smarter society, with exhibits from more than 170 companies. It was a very important event with more than 10,000 attendees and speeches given by the Danish Prime Minister, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and many others. Bright Green was even visited by royalty with a panel consisting of the Crown Princes of Denmark and Norway, along with the Princess of Sweden. “All three countries border arctic regions,” said Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, adding “We’re all very concerned.” And they stayed around to tour all the exhibits and interact with attendees. My personal favorite moment though came at the end of an interview with Danish TV-2. I was told that my discussion about Climate Savers Computing would wrap up quickly because “some singing” was about to begin. Sure enough, just as I finished my last answer, a parade of beautiful young girls came down the stairs behind us clothed in white robes, carrying candles and singing St. Lucia’s music. It was magical.

The interview with TV-2 was just one of many opportunities I had to discuss Climate Savers Computing. Here is another interview where I discussed the future of Climate Savers Computing with eWeek Europe.

I am very thankful for the chance to attend COP15 and believe that important and significant dialogue about energy-efficient technology took place that align with and advance the mission of Climate Savers Computing.

44 comments:

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