THE NEW ECONOMY017Microsoft Research is supporting cutting-edgeresearch projects to advance energy efficiency in datacentres and other computing environments andpublicly shares their results.Even energy-efficient data centres use lots ofelectricity, but interestingly we found that the shifttowards data centre-based cloud computing can resultin significant net energy savings overall. Why? In manybusinesses today, applications often run on serversthat are typically using only about 10 per cent of theircapacity with lots of energy wasted. A new study by Accenture and the environmentalconsulting firm WSP found that when organisationsmove common business applications, like MicrosoftExchange for email, from their own servers to aMicrosoft hosted cloud, they can achieve significanttotal energy savings. Large enterprises can expect tocut their energy use per user by at least 30 per cent,and in the case of small businesses, the result is evenmore dramatic, with potential savings of up to 90 per cent. A good analogy for this is mass transit, where theenergy savings from moving thousands of peoplearound on shared infrastructure instead of single-occupancy vehicles has a significant environmentalimpact. The same is true in cloud computing. We canrealise huge economies of scale that result in realenergy savings as more services move to the cloud. IT FOR GREEN IT also has a critical role to play in enabling emissionsreductions in a wide range of sectors. The widely-citedSmart 2020 analysis conducted by McKinsey &Company and published by The Climate Group andGlobal e-Sustainability Initiative found that ITsolutions to reduce energy use in industries, buildings,transportation and homes could reduce greenhousegas emissions by 15 per cent by 2020.Microsoft sees particular potential in energy-savingapplications that take advantage of widely availableexisting technology. A recent World Wildlife Fund studyfound that increasing virtual meetings andtelecommuting using existing technology couldeliminate more than 3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissionsover the next few decades. In our own experience,Microsoft found that by encouraging employees to useour unified communications telework tools in place oftravel, we reduced travel per employee 10 per cent inour early deployments, eliminating 100 million milesof air travel and 17,000 metric tonnes of CO2emissions a year. The power of software combined with increasinglysmart appliances and inexpensive sensors can alsomake an important difference in how peopleunderstand and change their energy use at home. Weenvision easy-to-use "control panels" on homecomputers and cell phones that let people managetheir household appliances, heat and lighting from anylocation. Ultimately, intelligent control systems willoptimise home energy use based on the weatherreport, activities on your calendar and a host of otherfactors. Such systems could sense your location fromyour cell phone and begin heating or cooling yourhouse as you begin your commute home and turn onyour lights as you pull into your driveway. These demand-side IT solutions also can help enabledeployment of intermittent renewable energy sourceslike solar and wind. IT-enabled appliances combinedwith smart metres and informed consumers can shiftenergy demand from appliances and non-time-sensitive uses to periods of peak wind or solargeneration. The growth potential of plug-in electricvehicles makes the issue of demand elasticityparticularly important. Ford Motor Company ispartnering with Microsoft on technology for its newFord Focus electric vehicles that enables drivers toprogram when to recharge their vehicle, for how longand at what utility rate. Using this technology, driversor utilities can set vehicles to charge during off-peakhours when electricity is cheaper or when the grid isproviding the most renewable energy. CONCLUSIONThe world's most powerful supercomputers andbroadly available existing technologies such as cellphones and PCs all have a role to play in enabling aclean energy ecosystem. Microsoft is investing in thedevelopment of a range of business and consumersolutions and services that contribute to solving thesechallenging issues. We welcome the chance to worktogether on these solutions with our partners,customers, suppliers, policymakers and other key stakeholders. nFor more information about Microsoft's work in thisarea, please visit www.microsoft.com/environment.
t the beginning of the 21st Century,humanity confronts a criticalenvironmental challenge that threatensour economical development, naturalecosystems and efforts to achieve the MillenniumDevelopment Goals: climate change.For decades, mankind has caused great harm to theenvironment, our common home. By doing so, we haveput our civilisation at unprecedented risk. We havewitnessed the power of nature: our societies areexperiencing an increasing frequency of hurricanesand heavy rain, a rise in sea levels, devastating floods,high temperatures, less biodiversity, economic damageand the regrettable loss of life.The facts are right in front of us if we choose to look. Forinstance, during 2010 Pakistan has experiences itsworst flooding in 80 years. According to the UnitedNations, nearly 20 million people have beensignificantly affected, that is approximately thepopulation of New York State, and at least 1,100 peoplehave died and thousands more have lost everything theyowned. The monsoons affected nearly 160,000 squarekilometres -an area larger than England.Recently, Mexico has faced severe weather conditionsthat have caused much destruction. According topreliminary information, around 908 squarekilometres in southern Mexico were affected duringthis hurricane season, 40 people died and more than250,000 people have suffered severe propertydamage or total loss. The worst-hit were, as usual, thepoorest that are always the most vulnerable. We are onthe front lines of the battle against climate change and we know that must prepare ourselves better to avoid the worst effects of these increasinglycommon disasters.I am convinced that we can change the course ofevents. Climate change is a global challenge thatdemands a global response in order to preserve anadequate environment for the human race. We need anurgent political and technical response based on thelatest science. This is why Mexico has been participating so activelywith the international community to define andpromote the necessary agreements. From November29th to December the 10th we will host in Cancún the 16th Conference of the Parties from the United Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange (COP16) and the Sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP6). On the way to Cancún, we have worked with countries from allregions of the world to try to reach a successfuloutcome in terms of substance, commitment and aforward looking strategy.From our meetings and consultations, there seems tobe general agreement that the Cancún meeting shouldresult in a balanced package of decisions thatoperationalise key elements of the Bali Action Plan inthe areas of adaptation, mitigation, technology,finance and capacity building. There is also highpotential for agreement on Reductions of Emissionsfrom Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). At the COP16, we have the challenge of advancingtowards sustainable human development for everyoneon this planet; to realign our methods of productionand consumption and create a much greener globaleconomy and a much more prosperous one. I am confident that the Parties will work to reduce tothe minimum the gap between the scientific evidenceRight: Juan Rafael ElviraQuesada visiting the areaaffected during a recenthurricane season inMexicoA BALANCED PACKAGE FOR THE COP16018CANCUN FOCUSJUAN RAFAEL ELVIRA QUESADA, MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, MEXICOA