The downside to carbon emission monitoring

There was something of a warning that the imminent introduction of the Carbon Reduction Commitment in the UK could lead to ecosystem participants outsourcing energy-intensive activities to offshore operators, which could drive up overall emissions from the sector.

With similar initiatives and regulations in the pipeline for a number of developed markets, enterprises will clearly be exploring their options for reducing direct carbon emissions, and as we have already noted, there are technologies available to ease this process. However, the option of outsourcing datacenter operations may also prove an appealing way to reduce liabilities for emissions, especially as developing markets where green regulations are not in force are also likely to offer cost savings when compared to more controlled locations.

Speaking to, Liam Newcombe, secretary of the datacenter specialist group at the British Computer Society, warned that meeting green requirements might provide a "perverse incentive" for enterprises to outsource their datacenter activities to offshore partners. He suggested that companies may adopt a "slow and more creeping" approach to this, in order to avoid accusations that they are attempting to outsource their carbon emissions -- for example by installing new or updated equipment into co-location or other third-party facilities, rather than in-house.

A survey by The IT Job Board found that 89% of UK respondents wanted to see grants and incentives for companies adopting sustainable technologies, with an acceptance that "any government incentives would have to be balanced by taxes on those not reducing their environmental footprint". Almost half of those polled said that the main objective of any "green IT" scheme is still reducing costs -- meaning arguably that these are not green IT schemes at all, but programmes where the environmental benefits are a secondary bonus.

It was again noted that sales of carbon accounting software is likely to boom in 2010, with Groom Energy Solutions identifying three drivers for this. Firstly, companies are being pressured into being greener by customers and state agencies. Secondly, there are cost savings to be achieved in the long-run resulting from the adoption of green technology. And finally, many corporations already have sustainability programmes in place, necessitating carbon accounting.

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