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The information and communication technology (ICT) industry needs to go green if it is to continue in a world facing global warming, warns a leading expert in the field.
Bill St. Arnaud, former chief research officer for 15 years at CANARIE (Canada’s Advanced Internet Development Organization), says the industry that creates virtually everything needed in a modern economy – from telephone lines to wireless signals, broadcast media and networking – is in desperate need of an overhaul.
“ICT itself has become the heavy industry of the information age,” says St. Arnaud, who will be lecturing Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series. “We need to find alternate solutions that enable ICT to become zero carbon immediately.”
St. Arnaud says CO2 emissions from ICT exceed that of traditional heavy industry smelters, steel mills and cement plants with a continuing dramatic growth rate of over six per cent a year.
“At this rate ICT will represent 12-20 per cent of all CO2 emissions by 2020,” he says.
St. Arnaud is now a Green IT networking consultant who works with clients on the application of technology to research, education and Internet networks. He also works with clients to develop practical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We must now focus on how to adapt to a much warmer planet. Energy efficiency is not enough. We don’t have enough time to reduce emissions of ICT through energy efficiency. Building zero carbon networks, data centers and computers will be our major task in the coming years. We also need to design ICT solutions that can survive dramatic climate disruptions such as floods and droughts.”
St. Arnaud is a regular contributor to the CBC’s technology show Spark and he also publishes a number of blogs including “Future Internet, R&E Networks, Green Internet, Green IT” and “Green Internet and Cyber-Infrastructure.”
The Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by the Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College) is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Starbucks Coffee, Sweet Caroline’s Bakery, and the Vernon Morning Star.
Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. For advanced tickets and more information, visit the Okanagan Science Centre at www.okscience.ca or call (250) 545-3644.