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What’s your role in the “Clean Tech Revolution”

On Thursday, October 29th at SAP in Palo Alto, the Churchill Club and GABA hosted a “Energy Efficiency” Discussion that had panel members such as Peter Graf, Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive VP of Sustainability Solutions, SAP, John Katz, Pollution Prevention Coordinator, US EPA and Mark Bramfitt, P.E., Principle Program Manager, PG&E.  The event was moderated by Steve Westly, former Controller and Chief Fiscal Officer, State of California.


The event was opened by Steve Westly setting the stage on an “International Perspective” on the Clean Tech Revolution.  He showed some slides about Global Warming and illustrated the effect by not taking any action to combat environmental change issues.  He also cited a recent LA Times article on the front page that illustrates the momentum growing for climate change legislation – which is a good step in the right direction. 


Westly also stated that the problem is getting worse.  BRIC = old news and areas of the greatest growth are now Columbia, Romania, Eqypt and Vietnam.  The highest growth is in Columbia.  In fact, the demand for Oil is what gives Columbia the lead.  He states we are doing this to ourselves thus we need to treat this as a global problem.  Westly points out that China who is the worlds second biggest producer of greenhouse gases, is blazing a new path to industrialization.  They have leaped ahead of us in the way they are tackling “Clean Tech”.  For example, Researchers from Harvard University and Tsinghua University have found that China could meet all of their electricity demands from wind power through 2030.  Westly did point out that the US is doing their part.  We have funded companies such as Telsa to deliver electric cars and we have seen a spur of IPO’s taking place in the area of Clean Tech.


So, what is our biggest challenge?  Westly states that as more countries get involved on a global level, will the US be a part of it?  The pressure is on the US to develop  carbon technology and a carbon market.  How involved will the US be when world leaders convene in Copenhagen to agree on a global framework to reduce carbon emissions to a level where our climate can be stabilized (Please read James Farrar’s blog “From Hopenhagen to Copenhagen” to get more details about the meeting and what you can do to be involved…. which leads me to the point of this blog and why I am writing notes about this meeting:


  • The long term health of the planet is at risk
  • Billions of dollars will be made
  • Which country will move quick enough to have a huge historic advantage


First bullet – Perhaps a bit more controversial.   I would, however, like to point out that I am not going to debate this, however, creating energy efficiency in data centers is just the right thing to do. 


Second, Billions of dollars will be made.  It will be interesting to see how active the US is in Copenhagen.  We have an opportunity to create jobs, bring in revenues and heavily invest if our government becomes more active.


So – what role do we play?  Dr. Peter Graf did point out how companies in the business services sector can exploit developing market opportunities by helping customers measure and trim the carbon footprint.  Programs like SMART Data Centers through PG&E are progressive and we should look to continue to invest in these areas.


When Westly asked the panel – What role can we play the answers to the questions were all the same.  Be vocal and be heard.  John Katz, Pollution Prevention Coordinator, US EPA stated that policy is a reflection of us.  If you think it is important to lifecycle impact – Be vocal.  Mark Bramfitt, P.E. Principal Program Manager, PG&E echoed what John stated that was to be more public with what your companies are doing around Green IT.  Follow what SAP is doing and have a Sustainability Officer to look at Sustainability Solutions and get public.  Dr. Peter Graf wants us to think of the business case and use carbon as an indicator for waste.  Use analytical tools to measure this and manage to it.  Use communities such as to be vocal.


Bringing this back, SAP customers use or Omit 1/6 of the emissions in the US.  SAP, SAP Partners and Customers have a duty to lower this – thus the Green IT from SAP  Expect more data and information to come from us as we look to play our part in Clean Tech.  We will be vocal.  We owe it to our environment. 

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