Why Google's climate change action matters


Google is addressing global warming by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions. It recently announced an agreement to buy 100 MW of power from an Oklahoma wind farm, one of a number of things that Google has done to reduce its environmental impact.

But what Google is doing is not enough.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are rising steadily and have reached 392 ppm (parts per million). Some argue that the safe upper limit is 350 ppm.

The science is clear about the connection between rising carbon levels and planet temperatures. What is less clear is how the climate system will respond to it, and what the tipping points will be.

Will arctic ice melting (illustration above is from the National Snow and Ice Data Center) amplify the melting of Greenland's ice and speed sea level rise?

Will warming in the arctic result in release of methane gas trapped in permafrost? Will a warmer arctic increase droughts in some areas and flooding in others?

But even as the arctic ice melt increases, climate change is failing as an issue. Only 34% of Americans believe that global temperature rise is a result of human activities, according to a recent Gallup poll.  

We are not in a good place on this issue.

IT and facilities managers are the key advocates for energy efficiency in the workplace, and can help bring about change.

But is IT moving fast enough? Should other businesses, collectively, help Google build a market for alternative energy?

See chart above.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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