This Week in Sustainability: Future of Smart Cities and the Next Week’s State of the Union

| Josh Henretig

clip_image002This week SmartPlanet reported on new research from Pike Research, which found that by 2020, the market value of the smart city industry will reach $20.3 billion, up from the current $6.3 billion value. It is expected that by 2050, there will be 6.3 billion people living in cities, making energy efficiency improvements all the more important for urban planning in densely populated areas. Information technology plays a very large role in the development of smart cities, which incorporate technology solutions into making everything from the energy grid to public transportation more efficient. But as cities look to build out their smart infrastructure, the article reports that they will need to transition from pilots to citywide projects.

The promise of information technology for sustainability could also help the Obama administration achieve its goal of addressing the threat of climate change. This week The New York Times Green Blog reported on a guide released by the World Resources Institute, which offers advice to the Obama administration on how best to address climate change during the President’s second term in office. The recommendations in the WRI’s guide include measures like carbon dioxide limits for existing power plants and better controls for methane leakage from natural gas production. Next week’s State of the Union address will likely include some details on how the Obama administration plans to tackle climate change. As a technology company, we hope that the role of technology to aid efficiency and spur smart infrastructure is part of that discussion. Advancements in technology are making it possible to enact new standards related to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. That was one of the findings of the Smarter2020 Report, released in December 2012, which concluded that ICT can reduce global carbon emissions by 16.5 percent, amounting to $1.9 trillion in gross energy and fuel savings. That’s a huge opportunity for both the technology industry and for society.

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