F2C: Carbon Negative Internet II

Robin Chase
Often think about the past, Anne Frank or Elizabeth Eckford. Are we heroic people?

Climate change. Careful with what science she chooses, but are looking at a possible catastrophic change with massive species loss.

Predictions look at what’s going to happen by 2020 or 2050. Looking at cap and trade, and CO2 reductions, but these aren’t happening any time soon. Alternative fuels, are another one. But if we bought fuel efficient cars we could make a difference now.

We need to act within the next 2-3 years in order to make the difference we need to. Many technological solutions aren’t going to do anything in that time frame. Need to change behaviour now, e.g. by using a carbon tax.

Strong believer in the realm that low cost and ubiquitous data bits are important, need face upload, manipulation and download of information, so can share resources efficiently, group intelligence, expert intelligence.

US CO2 emissions, 29% is the car. People talk about light bulbs, but your residential utility bill at 17%, and lighting is 13% of the 17%. Last thing Americans want to do. Can’t let that car sector linger til last.

Zipcars, parked through cities, for users to use by the hour or day, reservations online. Behaviour change, this is a great example. Because you’re paying for your car by the hour, all your sunk costs and variable costs are lumped together. If your car’s in your driveway you can drive to get ice cream, but if you have to hire the car out then you won’t spend $10 to hire it to get ice cream.

Zipcar people drive about 90% less than people who own a car. Using it selectively an appropriately. This is 100% tech enabled. Could never have done this if it weren’t so easy to book the car.

GoLoco, trying to do for ride sharing what they did for car sharing. Ave American spends 18% of their income on their car. So was coming to Washington, so booked the flight, then booked the car on Zipcar, then put trip on GoLoco, and someone wanted to share the car on that trip. The man who wanted to share the trip turned out to be going to the same conference, to be able to do the navigating etc.

So if you can’t not have a car, at least you can share it with someone else.

Paris. Free bikes, going one way for half an hour with no charge. Are distributed every four blocks. Share networks can transform the way we think about things.

Also looking at congestion charging and road pricing. How do we build out that infrastructure. $500m spent in Stockholm to do a pilot, but didn’t end up with a wireless city. So trying to get US gov’t to make these networks more open.

These are places we can look to get most stuff done. Need to create Infrastructure 2.0, distributed and created by end users.

Financing 2.0, don’t need one person spending billions, but we can each spend a little bit.

Bill St. Arnaud
Two biggest challenges: global warming and broadband infrastructure. If we do not do something now about global warming we will have problem and we need substantive changes.

ICT industry produces same amount of CO2 as the entire aviation industry. ICT energy consumption increasing, Co2 will double by 2010.

Big aspect of internet is datacentres, Facing serious challenges from energy perspective. By 2008% have insufficient power and cooling, by 2010, 50% of data centres will have to relocate due to power shortages.

Not just climate change, but also an energy challenge.

Need two step approach, we need to reduce our own carbon emissions, and we can reduce it to zero. Can use the internet to promote or induce consumers to reduce their own carbon footprints.

A lot of talk about energy efficiency from vendors, but this is wrong. Increased energy efficiency increases usage. Seems counter-intuitive. Last energy crisis legislated for improved efficiency, so if driving is cheaper and homes are cheaper to heat/cool, then people drive more and get bigger homes. End up with more consumption and more energy usage.

These ideas need to be examined closely. If we decrease energy use, consumers buy more.

Need to look at zero carbon, look at now internet and broadband architectures. Not just reduce carbon emissions, but make them zero.

If you have high speed internet you can relocate data centres anywhere in the world, e.g. to Iceland where there is geothermal energy.

Access to power in going to be harder in our cities, and increased demand for green power. Lots of untapped renewable power in remote areas, but no other industries can access that as they need to be close to customers. Data centres can move and use them. Need to get them to remote locations where the power is untapped and cheap.

Initiatives in Canada, as well as Iceland and Lithuania, to do that. In Canada, using renewable energy. Using sites that are unused, and where it’s uneconomical to move the electricity to where it’s needed.

Plans to build small data centres lined by windmills and optical networks. Windmill not connected to electrical grid. Distributed across Nova Scotia as low cost and reliable data centres.

That’s the sort of thinking we need. Project in Canada, next generation internet to reduce global warming. Lots of big companies in a research consortium, to look at future internet architecture that has a zero carbon footprints. Incremental energy efficiency isn’t enough, need a radical rethink. New ways of building wireless networks, infrastructure, etc.

Got to solve this problem for this industry, then maybe we can look at other sectors and help them too.

Worldwide, carbon taxes would probably be the best solution, but it’s a very difficult thing to sell anywhere else in the world. Problem is the gov’t get addicted to them as they have with other ‘sin taxes’. Even if money is supposed to go back into the climate but it will get siphoned off.

Carbon offsets, lots of companies being sent up to sell/trade carbon offsets. Can make money out of it, these companies will audit your reduction of carbon and will sell those offsets to other companies. Getting a bad name, desperately needs regulation.

What about carbon rewards? Helps change behaviour. This is not just sack cloth and ashes, there are good business opportunities too.

Consumers control 65% of the Co2 emissions, 35% directly, 25% influenced. Need to induce consumers to change their behaviour.

Canada also struggling to build out fibre to the home. Can’t make money on selling infrastructure, need to offer services. But voice and TV revenues are declining, as more of those services move to the internet. Many UK companies give away internet, so how do ISPs compete with free? Everyone is struggling. What is the business case? Specially if you have to open u p your network and let competitors in.

Project in Ottawa, providing free fibre and internet, bundling with gas and electric bill, so pay extra on your energy bill but if you reduce your consumption you can get internet for free. Incentive to allow consumers to reduce energy.

Electric and gas resellers are no utilities, very gungho, keen to work on this. Bundling internet with energy isn’t new, but the incentive might make it more attractive.

Ideas like this, rather than imposing taxes but providing rewards to reduce carbon footprint is a different model for reducing global warming.

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