Check your values before Green IT

Since global warming has (temporarily?) stopped, we now have the term ’climate change’ to keep us alarmed.

It strikes me it’s all a bit like religion, you can be a Muslim or a Christian and the primary thing that sustains you is your belief, reinforced by holy books such as the Bible or the Koran. Generally speaking, those of one faith generally spend most of their devotional time among their own. Conversion to, or even understanding of, alternative faiths is uncommon.

Such has been the mass of hype around climate change (some of it well-founded, by the way) that it has created a new faith. It’s not totally unlike the much-abused ’political correctness’ before it, in that to challenge is to be branded a ’denier’. But who can deny that planting crops to harvest as biofuels is fundamentally stupid?

Covering large areas of Britain’s land and sea with wind farms is another classic. It would make more sense to capture energy from naturally renewable and continuous energy sources – tide, geothermal, sun and even nuclear is being seen as increasingly realistic by some the pros and many antis. But they’d better get a move on and first make sure the energy generated exceeds that consumed by the lifecycle cost of raw materials, building, operation and eventual shut down.

Nigel Lawson has written a book called Global Warming: An Appeal to Reason. James Lovelock has written The Revenge of Gaia. I read them both together last week. Each makes interesting observations – sometimes agreeing, sometimes not, even when based on the same premises. If you’ve not read them, they cast different lights on the same science. I feel disinclined to follow either argument with any degree of passion, but they certainly provided plenty of food for thought.

We can choose a pro or anti stance or we can go for a more neutral ’trying to leave the planet in a fit condition for our successors’. With Green IT 08 coming up next week, there’s going to be a lot of hype around. If you’re going (and the conference looks interesting), I suggest you make sure of where you stand on environmental issues before you leave, and weigh everything that’s hurled at you accordingly. In particular, if someone’s trying to sell you something, ask them about the nett planetary impact.

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