ME firms 'must rise to carbon challenge'
Dubai, June 13, 2011
The investment officers and IT managers in the Middle East must rise to the carbon challenge and start building energy-efficient data centers to reduce both their cost and carbon footprint, said an expert.
It is high time the Middle East started to seriously consider implementing regulations like in Europe, remarked Ali Ahmar, regional sales manager, Mena for Brocade Communications, a leader in networking solutions.
"In 2005, the European Union introduced the concept of an Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) – which is the largest multi-national, emissions trading scheme in the world and a major pillar of the EU’s climate policy," he explained.
As part of the EU ETS, large emitters of carbon dioxide within the EU must monitor and annually report their CO2 emissions. Companies are then required to buy permits for each metric ton of carbon they emit, with the amount of carbon output capped and lowered each year.
The EU ETS is primarily aimed at energy-intensive organizations, while less energy ‘hungry’ industries are left unaffected.
It is anticipated that the scheme will cut carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020.
According to Ahmar, increasing awareness of climate change and concern for the environment, has put a variety of countries and industries into the spotlight and forced them to review their environmental credentials.
Various research papers have shown a strong link between carbon emissions and global warming, he added.
The world's four worst offenders in terms of per capita carbon emissions relative to per capita income are: Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
Qatar has more than three times the per capita CO2 emissions as the US, and Kuwait and the UAE emit almost twice the CO2 per capita as America. Saudi Arabia emits CO2 at near the US level per capita, he said.
On the regional scenario, Ahmar pointed out that the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE) started operations this April and dubbed it as a good start for the Middle East.
"DCCE will focus on opportunities created by carbon-emission reduction projects, while simultaneously working to stimulate a carbon-efficient economy in Dubai by developing carbon incentives for the emirate’s society, businesses and the public sector. Other countries in the region should now follow suit," he added.
The rapidly growing carbon footprint associated with information and communications technologies (ICT), including laptops and PCs, data centers and computing networks, mobile phones, and telecommunications networks, could make them among the biggest greenhouse gas emitters by 2020, according to research firm McKinsey.
The Global IT sector today accounts for between two and three percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions, with around a quarter of that percentage made up by CO2 emissions from data centres.
For most service sectors, data centers are a business’s number-one source of greenhouse gas emissions, said Ahmar.
"For organisations looking to be greener, the data centre is therefore the most obvious place to start," he remarked.
According to Ahmar, companies across the Middle East were now paying more attention to Green IT as a direct result of the cost savings which can be realised from implementing such a strategy.
"Companies can double the energy efficiency of their data centers through more disciplined management, reducing both costs and greenhouse gas emissions," he noted.
"Building energy-efficient data centers offers the best hope of reducing their cost and carbon footprint," he added.-TradeArabia News Service