Monday, August 31, 2009

Microsoft Joins the Climate Change Calculations - Project 2 Degrees

While the Microsoft founder Bill Gates and a dozen other scientists have raised eyebrows by submitting patent applications for a technology to reduce the danger of approaching hurricanes by cooling ocean temperatures, the global software firm has created an online tool called Project 2 Degrees for cities across the world to monitor their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The carbon footprint calculations and compensating ones (individuals and firms) footprint by buying appropriate carbon credit is already a known practice. However, the Project 2 Degrees for cities takes on different challenge of inventorizing carbon in the cities - where the the real action is.

A article recently published in Foreign Policy in Focus quotes "Cities Can Save the Earth" (May, 2009). Though the article tends to focus more on the transport oriented protection of the cities, the underlying message is clear - the protection comes from less consumption. Lesser the consumption, lesser the demand for energy, lesser the emissions, lesser the pollution, and sustainable the city and healthy the people. Alternet in April 2009 wrote, "Consumption, not population is our main environmental threat".

Cities account for only 2 percent of the worlds land mass but produce up to 75 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, so became the focus for Project 2 Degrees that is a collaboration with software designers Autodesk and the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Currently 40 cities are participating in this program called "C40 group", with New York and Sydney as pilot studies. Other cities in the program include cities Delhi, Bangkok, Manila, Sao Paulo, etc. Check the best practices section for examples of low carbon applications.

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