An Inconvenient Truth and Web 2.0

Other | 2006/09/18 21:16 | Web 2.0 Asia

Although I'm writing this blog as a professional one and therefore I guess I shouldn't stray from the main topic (Web 2.0 in Asia), I still think the movie An Inconvenient Truth is worth mentioning and ruminating upon.

In case you are not familiar with the movie, here's the excerpt (you can also visit the site here):

Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.

With wit, smarts and hope, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH ultimately brings home Gore's persuasive argument that we can no longer afford to view global warming as a political issue.
So what in the world the movie on global warming have to do with the Web 2.0 anyway? Here's my 2 cents.

1. Web 2.0 can potentially worsen the global warming...

As the data becomes the next Intel inside, needs for massive data center infrastructure are also rapidly increasing. And those data centers needlessly consume humongous amount of electricity - now Google's #1 cost contributor is reported to be the electricity bills. And in many countries including the US, a major portion of electricity generation is done by burning coals or other CO2 generating methods.

Indeed, email saved a lot of physical mail deliveries and therefore saved a lot of paper (hence trees) and CO2 emission from mail delivery trucks. But then on the other hand, E-commerce has arguably jumpstarted the whole logistics industry and therefore potentially contributed to the CO2 generation and global warming significantly.

2. ... But then Web 2.0 can also potentially alleviate the global warming

But the innovation, creativities, and eventually the wealth from the brightest minds of the web industry can be applied to other industries, including the clean tech industry.

Oreilly reports that attempts are being made to apply the IT technologies to the energy industry; Meanwhile, Google is investing $100M+ from its huge fortune gained from their huge success from the web industry on high-mileage vehicles.

So we can go forward or backward - the choice will be ours.
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