Global Warming Initiatives by the Information Services Industry
The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol kicks off on January 1, 2008. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan is committed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by an average of 6 percent by 2012, compared with the levels of 1990. However, Japan's actual emissions of greenhouse gases rose by 6.4 percent in 2006. If Japan were to make up for the difference through carbon emissions trading, it would cost the nation approximately two trillion yen over five years.
The industrial and transportation sectors in Japan are reducing their emissions as part of the nation's initiatives to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. However, emissions from the commercial and residential sectors continue to rise due to a lack of effective countermeasures in these sectors.
The use of information technology (IT) can have both positive and negative effects on reducing emissions from the commercial and residential sectors. The use of IT can have a positive effect on reducing energy consumption by enabling corporations to conduct activities more efficiently. At the same time, greater use of IT can have a negative effect through the increased use of energy by IT equipment. Some forecasts estimate that power consumption from IT equipment in Japan will increase to five times its current level by 2025. Therefore, Japan must first concentrate on reducing energy consumption caused by the use of IT equipment.
Data centers contain large volumes of IT equipment, and so should endeavor to improve energy efficiency. Accordingly, data centers should deploy high efficiency servers while simultaneously improving their overall energy efficiency. Some data centers in Japan are known to operate at higher levels of efficiency than those in the United States. Japan's energy efficiency technologies could potentially be used for global initiatives to increase energy efficiency.
Japan could eventually set energy efficiency targets for each corporation, which would lead to a scenario under which CO2 emissions could become a limiting factor for corporate growth. Information service providers (ISPs) operate data centers that corporations use to house their servers, and so should endeavor to develop and adopt technologies that improve energy efficiency in order to help corporations overcome factors that could limit their corporate growth. At the same time, ISPs should contribute to addressing the issue of global warming.