Earth Day: Using technology to lower CO2 emissions

Subha Rama, Baltimore Business Technology Examiner

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Are you one of the lucky ones who work for companies that allow employees to stay at home today to reduce carbon dioxide emissions? Did you know that 168 million American workers generate nearly 1.68 metric tons of CO2 every year through travel, computer use, commuting etc.? The United States is the biggest culprit when it comes to travel-related CO2 emissions. Air travel in the country is an average 2300 for every 1000 people when compared to developing countries like China (60 for every 1000 people) and India (20).

Technologies like conferencing (audio, video and Web) have grown popular thanks to the rising corporate responsibility for building a low-carbon society. With the ongoing economic downturn, companies are keener on cutting business travel than ever before. Investment in green technologies is now strategic for many.

A study sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) advocates the building of open access sites for every million of the world's urban population. This would mean a capital cost of $495 million and an annual operating cost of $347 million. Compare this to capital cost of $22 billion spent on building the third Heathrow runway or the $320 million list price of the Airbus A380.

A study on business travel in Europe says that we can avoid 6–34 million tons of CO2 emissions by substituting 5–30% of air travel with videoconferencing. So, why are we not doing it? If you closely look at market adoption, videoconferencing is still at the infancy stage in many countries today. The technology itself is complex and requires high bandwidth. But, these were yesterday's problems. At least in many developed countries, bandwidth availability is growing and costs declining. Many service providers have launched one-click conferencing to make this attractive for all.

Emissions related to aviation fuel account for as much as 10% of the climate change that is happening today. We need to make drastic changes in the way we communicate and interact, if we feel responsible for keeping this planet green. So, what's keeping you from doing it? End of article.

For additional information on how your organization can utilize video conferencing to be greener (while reducing travel costs and saving money), call 1-800-224-7083, or e-mail , or click here to have an IVCi Representative contact you.

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