IT goes green
There are many statistics backing the assumption that IT is a big energy consumer (and therefore, indirectly, a green-house gas generator). Overall, computing and telecom currently produce 2% of the global emissions, which is comparable to the volume generated by aviation. But isn't this just one side of the story?
Yes, it's just one side, and arguably the most irrelevant one. IT might actually be the only industry for which the amount of emissions is far smaller than its positive ecological impact. Take video-conferences for example, they help to hugely reduce the carbon emissions corresponding to business traveling and commuting. The "smart buildings" that minimize their energy consumption by using a central servers' computing capabilities (to switch off devices when nobody is around, and to intelligently manage the heating systems etc.) are just another example. Actually, this applies to more than just buildings: virtually any industrial plant nowadays is in need of energy management, and it's very likely that IT is the main player when it comes to establishing a more efficient way of consuming energy.
Furthermore, most of the R&D efforts nowadays, regardless the industry, are heavily relying on computing. This includes the research aimed at developing low-consumption automobiles, energy-efficient homes, finding new sources of "green" energy and better employing the "classic" alternative sources (wind, solar & hidro energy etc.). Therefore, it's safe to say that, if it weren't for computers, we would be way less efficient in our efforts towards diminishing the global greenhouse emissions.
The IT industry's efforts to reduce the ecological impact are also reflected in the current hardware trends: shops have started to fill their shelves with many low-consumption desktops & laptops. But these energy savings stand for just a mere portion of the emission reductions that IT actually provides nowadays. So, in my view, IT it a big helper when it comes to living in a greener world.