Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Korea's "Green IT" Initiative

I've been invited to a forum presentation on "Green IT" this Friday morning, so thought I would do a little research by way of preparation. A recent article in the Korea IT Times proved most helpful. Green growth has been very much in the news in Korea for a long time, but especially since the inauguration of the Lee Myung Bak government.  On May 13 the Green Growth Commission completed an action plan for the Green New Deal to implement the low carbon, green growth policy.  The government plans to invest a total of 4.2 trillion won (US $3.31 billion) from this year until 2013.  Within this broad initiative, the government's Green IT Plan has two major emphases.  One is to develop green IT products and the other is to use IT to lower energy use and pollution.
The development of green IT products will initially focus on three leading products:  PCs, displays and servers.  With South Korea's world-leading levels of broadband internet use, its PC Bangs, massive multiplayer online games and the growing popularity of cloud computing,  it should hardly come as any surprise that internet data centers used by Korean consumers have a large carbon footprint.  Of course, this also means that this infrastructure offers significant opportunities for reduction of carbon consumption through greener IT products.
The second major emphasis, the use of IT to transform the nation into a lower carbon-usage society offers similar opportunities to help make Korea greener.   Telecommuting can reduce pollution as can the introduction of more intelligence into both public and private transportation systems.  In the forthcoming ubiquitous network society, the combination of a smart electric power grid with home networks offers great opportunities to reduce carbon consumption.  Smart systems to monitor the environment are also in the works.  Finally, let's not forget that Korea's success with Green IT is certain to create success in new export sectors since the problems of energy, global warming and many of the other problems facing the world are now planetary in scope.

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