04 March 2009

Think Globally. Act Locally. Grind Teeth. Relax.

"Think Globally. Act Locally." is a slogan I first heard in the eighties that has annoyed me ever since. Today I was reminded of it when I was reading this article about the correlation of CO2 emissions to global GDP.
To put this another way, if we get a 12 percent reduction in GDP, CO2 in the atmosphere may fall by 4ppm.
    Thinking about this for even a few second leads to the obvious observation that global aggregate CO2 emissions is the wrong feedback loop to drive reduction of CO2 emissions. It is far too indirect. It is much more effective to allow companies and individuals to monitor their own emissions. Tendril have an initiative to do just this and they moved monitoring all the way to mobile devices:
“Consumer engagement is critical to smart grid success,” said Ying Wu, Senior Analyst at Lux Research. “It is vital to provide information and control to consumers in ways they are already familiar with and that are personal to them, such as in the home, on the Web or on mobile devices.” Many people are away from their homes during the day when energy usage is at its highest and energy prices are most expensive.
With the mobile TREE platform, consumers can remotely monitor and manage their energy usage, no matter where they might be. Among the features accessible from the mobile platform are monthly bills including the past 13 months of billing history and the daily cost of electricity. The daily cost can be broken down to an average per-hour cost. Data can also be presented in easy to understand graphs.
Detailed information like this allows consumers to identify behaviour patterns that conserve energy. The application can also be configured to respond to alert signals sent out by the power company and the ability to participate, or opt-out of, demand response programs. The size of a homeowner’s carbon footprint is also presented.
This gives much tighter feedback loops and with the right information and incentives, people might act and reduce their CO2 emissions.
As much as it makes my teeth grind when I write it, this is a case of thinking globally and acting locally.

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