ANGELA Smith, MP for Basildon and East Thurrock, delivered the keynote speech at the Greening Government IT Conference on Tuesday, announcing that the government has saved at least £7 million of public money through environmentally friendly changes in its computing policy.
Changes include extending the service life of PCs, introducing double-sided printing as the default option and ensuring computers are switched off overnight. This has helped cut the carbon footprint of Central Government computers by 12,000 tonnes – the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road or enough carbon to fill 2,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Angela said: “Information technology is one of the hidden causes of climate change – worldwide, computers are responsible for the same amount of carbon emissions as the airline industry, but few people are taking action to improve the situation.
“A year ago the British government became the first in the world to set tough targets to tackle the huge environmental and financial costs of computer use. All departments have risen to the challenge of cutting their IT carbon emissions and countries from around the world are now looking to us for advice on how to follow our lead”
However, Angela went on to emphasise the role that the private sector had to play in cutting emissions:
“It’s not just about the government. I hope that private companies and individuals will also recognise the savings that can be made and get on board”