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The Sustainable Network by Sarah Sorensen

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Chapter 9. The Network’s Green Factor

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It’s not easy being green.

Kermit the Frog

Being green often comes with complications. No one is naïve enough to think that all this connectivity doesn’t have an impact. It most certainly does; in fact, Gartner estimated the impact of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector at 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions,[103] while others place it at 3%. To put it in perspective, over the past couple of years, ICT, of which the network is a key component, has overtaken the emissions generated via the airline industry. That means there are more emissions from the ICT sector than all the airlines and jet fuel and vapor trails in the sky! That represents plenty of opportunity for improvement and a call to action for the industry to clean up inefficiencies and reduce consumption (a challenge that will be covered in subsequent chapters). But the underlying question still remains: is the network sustainable? Can the network help save the world and simultaneously save itself? As Kermit the Frog would vouch, it’s never easy.

ICT needs to work to reduce its own emissions, but it also needs to help other industries streamline operations and reduce their overall emissions. The ICT sector is being heralded by governments and environmental advocates alike as an integral party to any climate-change solution. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has stated that ...

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