A $14 trillion call to action on climate change

13 March 2013 | Joel Cherkis, General Manager, Worldwide Government

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my trip to Davos, Switzerland, where I attended the 2013 World Economic Forum (WEF).  While I didn’t touch on it in my last post, if you’ve been following the news, you may have already heard about a major environmental call to action that came out of WEF this year.

According to a WEF-commissioned report that was issued at the event, the world must collectively make a $14 trillion (USD) investment in greening the global economy in order to safeguard our economic future from the potentially devastating impacts of climate change—both material and societal.

According to the World Bank, in this century our planet is projected to warm by four degrees Celsius. This pace of warming is of great concern to many nations, as they are already beginning to deal with the consequences of a warmer planet (natural disasters, changing weather patterns, poor agricultural output, etc.).

The main takeaway from the report is that investing in a variety of technologies and alternative energy sources today will greatly outweigh the cost of inaction in the future. At Microsoft, this is an issue that we take very seriously, and we’ve made a commitment to become a carbon neutral company. We also recognize that today’s technology trends, such as virtualization, cloud computing, and digitalization can play an important role in a government’s overall strategy to reduce its energy consumption and environmental impact.

More than ever, we’re partnering with government organizations to help them identify meaningful ways to reduce the energy footprint of their IT infrastructures, while realizing cost savings in the process. Perhaps most symbolic in recent months has been our work supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with migrating its email services to our Microsoft cloud environment. The effort has enabled the EPA to significantly reduce its datacenter footprint, and save a projected $12 million over the next four years.  Stories like the EPA’s are becoming increasingly common.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading Bill Mitchel’s recent blog post, which shares other great examples of how public sector organizations are reducing their environmental impact with strategic technology investments. These examples also show how investing in greener IT can be a lucrative business move for government organizations, enabling them to operate more cost effectively and sustainably in the future.

As our world becomes increasingly digital, it’s clear that technologies that help lower the energy footprint of IT systems will play an important role in addressing climate change. The good news is that, as proven by our customers’ successes and cost savings, energy-smart IT can also be a lucrative economic investment for government.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Photo credit: joiseyshowaa
Joel Cherkis
General Manager, Worldwide Government

About the Author

Joel Cherkis | General Manager, Worldwide Government

Joel leads a team of business development and technology professionals supporting policy decisions and the delivery of relevant and scalable technology solutions into public sector markets around the world. Read more