Feeling Carbon-Bloated? A Little IT Could Help
As Americans cope with ever-higher gas prices and IT companies launch initiatives to conserve energy, the folks running grassfire.org are encouraging people to waste as much energy as possible for one day in June.
That day is June 12, when Congress is set to take up a carbon tax proposal. The Senate today starts debating cap-and-trade regulation that would set quotas for carbon dioxide emissions. Polluters that used less than their quotas would be able to sell credits to those exceed theirs.
Grassfire.org's numbskull plan is to goad people to rev up their SUVs, drive unnecessary miles, leave extra lights on or host a barbecue in a "Carbon Belch Day" to protest the carbon tax proposal.
You see, the folks at grassfire.org think global warming is a bunch of hot air. They are not alone, of course. Even though most scientists agree climate change is real, opponents dismiss any assertion the earth is warming up and get positively livid at the suggestion that human activity has anything to do with it.
But regardless of one's position on global warming, actually asking people to go out of their way to waste energy is ill-advised. Especially at a time when oil prices have hit new heights, sending the price of food, transportation and heating into the stratosphere.
Grassfire.com is sure to inspire the anti-warming fringe into action on June 12, but most people will continue to seek ways to control their energy costs by driving less, installing efficient lightbulbs and taking it easy on their thermostats.
And the IT industry will continue its efforts to develop more efficient technology and implement usage practices that reduce power consumption. Managed services vendors, for instance, are leveraging Intel's vPro technology to allow solution providers to power down machines remotely. Data center operators are studying and implementing ways to use cooling systems that prevent server oveheating more efficiently. Power management, in fact, is likely to translate to decent profits for solution providers that embrace it.
Plenty of other IT companies, including AMD, Microsoft and IBM, have embarked on so-called green IT initiatives to try to control power consumption and reduce carbon emissions. IBM, for one, recently released energy-management software and has worked with more than 2,000 clients in the past year to implement green initiatives.
Also contributing to the green are technologies such as virtualization, which has reversed the trend of expanding server farms, and new business models such as managed services, which reduces service truck rolls by allowing solution providers to remotely handle IT functions that were previously done at client sites.
Clearly the grassfire.org initiative is a joke, intended or not. Anyone who participates in "Carbon Belch Day" is sure to have a good laugh when they roll their SUVs into the gas station to fill up the next day.
But, hey, having a barbecue sounds kind of fun actually.