Whitehall Government Departments to be Carbon Neutral by 2012

News today indicates that Whitehall is to become carbon neutral by 2012 with the introduction of so called smart computers (PCs).

The government and their related departments are the largest purchaser of information and communications technology in the UK and their IT equipment is responsible for up to a fifth of the total government’s carbon emissions up to a massive 460,000 tonnes each year. Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson says computers emit the same volume of emission each year as the airline industry.

Hard to believe at first but these smart PCs will turn themselves off when inactive – let’s just hope they have spoken to Microsoft first as switching off PCs in mid flow can have all kinds of consequences for lost data and we know how inept the government can be with our data.

Nevertheless, apparently by turning off every desktop PC in central government for the 16 hours that fall outside the standard working day could save up to 117,500 tonnes of CO2 carbon emissions per year. This first step is to grab hold of the low hanging fruit and is easy to undertake and to raise awareness amongst staff of what can be easily achievable.

The Sustainable Development Commission’s report said that apart from the Ministry of Defence, which significantly reduced its emissions in 2005-06, government departments emit 22% more CO2 than they did in 1999. Joy.

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