What Do Green IT, The Economic Crisis, And Best Selling Author, Thomas Friedman, All Have In Common? Poor Accounting.

Dougwashburn Consider the following questions posed by Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and author of The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, and more recently, Hot, Flat And Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - And How it Can Renew America:

“Was it an accident that Citibank, Iceland’s banks, and the ice banks of Antarctica all melted at the same time?”

“Was it an accident that Bear Sterns and the polar bears both faced extinction at the same time?”

In Friedman’s eyes, no, the recent economic and environmental woes are not accidental or coincidental. He explains that what the “great recession represents, if that what we can call this economic moment, is that both the market and Mother Nature hit wall at same time.” How? Because, according to Friedman, we’ve been using the same accounting system in both worlds that has massively under-priced risk, privatized gains, and socialized losses:

  • In the financial world, credit default swaps were sold without having adequate collateral behind them, gains were privatized to the financial institutions that sold them, and losses were socialized onto tax payers when the credits actually defaulted.
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Green Storage Has Limited ROI, But Supports Overall Efficiency

AndrewreichmanI care deeply about the environment, certainly more than I care personally about money, so it pains me to say that in most cases, making storage decisions based on power expenditure alone is not rational behavior. The world is driven by economics, and the stark reality is that the cost of power is only a drop in the bucket compared to the amount organizations spend on acquiring and managing their enterprise storage systems. Maybe someday a consumption tax or cap and trade system will tip the balance towards more responsible consumption of non-renewable resources, but in the meantime, the pricing of power (especially in the US) doesn’t give much economic incentive for good behavior. In fact, according to a report Forrester published recently, the amount of money typically spent on electricity to power and cool a TB of storage is only about 1% of the cost of buying that TB of storage (or about 4% of the annualized cost of buying that storage given that you only have to buy the TB once every 3-5 years but you power it every year).

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