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The material side of virtualization


Hilty, Lorenz (2007). The material side of virtualization. In: ITEE 2007, Oldenburg, Germany, 23 January 2007 - 23 January 2007, 5-6.

Abstract

The Environmental Informatics community could recently celebrate its 20th anniversary. The application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to problems of environmental research and management has made considerable progress and contributes to sustainable development. Moreover, ICT has the potential to virtualize processes that would otherwise consume considerable amounts of material and energy; virtual meetings, for instance, could avoid 97-98% of the CO2 emissions of physical meetings.The time, space, material and energy needed to provide a unit of ICT service have roughly decreased by a factor of 1000 since the first PC was sold. It seems therefore natural that researchers and industries using ICT in the environmental field ignore the environmental impacts caused by ICT hardware – they are just negligible compared to the environmental benefits that can be realized with the applications.Paradoxically, it is the progress in ICT hardware efficiency that has made ICT a part of the problem, too. The global mass and energy flows caused throughout the hardware life cycle are increasing due to the wide-spread use of ICT products and their decreasing useful lives. The environ-mental problems caused by the production, use and disposal of ICT hard-ware are solvable in principle; they are not as hard as the discrepancy between - e.g. - growing mobility and CO2 reduction goals. But problems can only be solved if they are not neglected.

The Environmental Informatics community could recently celebrate its 20th anniversary. The application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to problems of environmental research and management has made considerable progress and contributes to sustainable development. Moreover, ICT has the potential to virtualize processes that would otherwise consume considerable amounts of material and energy; virtual meetings, for instance, could avoid 97-98% of the CO2 emissions of physical meetings.The time, space, material and energy needed to provide a unit of ICT service have roughly decreased by a factor of 1000 since the first PC was sold. It seems therefore natural that researchers and industries using ICT in the environmental field ignore the environmental impacts caused by ICT hardware – they are just negligible compared to the environmental benefits that can be realized with the applications.Paradoxically, it is the progress in ICT hardware efficiency that has made ICT a part of the problem, too. The global mass and energy flows caused throughout the hardware life cycle are increasing due to the wide-spread use of ICT products and their decreasing useful lives. The environ-mental problems caused by the production, use and disposal of ICT hard-ware are solvable in principle; they are not as hard as the discrepancy between - e.g. - growing mobility and CO2 reduction goals. But problems can only be solved if they are not neglected.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Event End Date:23 January 2007
Deposited On:20 Jul 2012 23:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:44
Publisher:Springer
Series Name:Environmental Science and Engineering
ISSN:1863-5520
ISBN:978-3-540-71334-0
Publisher DOI:10.1007/978-3-540-71335-7_3
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:6465
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-61204

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