ICYMI: What will a smart city look like in 2050?

In Case You Missed It

ICYMI: What will a smart city look like in 2050?

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) is a regular feature on GreenBiz that tracks the latest news on corporate sustainability.

Dear readers: Where to begin this week? In honor of our just-concluded Convergence Paris, most of the highlights of this latest roundup focuses on all things smart, from green IT to the evolution of EVs to the smartest lake in the world. But also be sure to read to the end for the always-enjoyable odds 'n' sods, which this week includes items such as how to make big bucks helping cities prepare for climate change.

• The Cloud really is greener, part 1,000: Why yes, we are still talking about why cloud-based IT services are more efficient than individual company-run data centers. (For early takes on this, see Joel Makower from 2012, Marc Gunther from 2011, me from 2009 and so on.) In any event, the latest round of discussions involves a new report published by Microsoft Europe and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) that projects more than $2 billion in energy savings if 80 percent of public and private organizations in 11 countries (notably not including the US) switched to cloud-based email and other software solutions.

• What else you can do to green your IT: Aside from the seemingly inevitable migration to cloud-based services, companies still can do a large number of things to make their IT operations more efficient. In a new report published in the journal Nature this week, green IT apostle Jonathan Koomey and his co-authors lay out the basics of greening your data centers.

• Software for greener supply chains: In other GeSI news, the organization has just announced a partnership with EcoVadis to launch the Electronic Tool for Accountable Supply Chains (E-TASC) to help increase the visibility and accountability of human rights and environmental sustainability in IT supply chains.

• 3 percent for the planet: In other big-picture news, the WWF and CDP released a report suggesting that companies that invest 3 percent to 4 percent of their CAPEX in "low-risk, profitable carbon-reduction projects" not only would cut their emissions by about 3 percent per year, but also would save millions per year in expenses. HP, Coca-Cola and Sprint are among the companies that already have signed on to the 3 percent Challenge.

• What will a smart city look like in 2050? Autodesk's Emma Stewart describes the features of a smart, connected city at mid-century, but only if we start doing things right -- and quickly.

• From EV maker to battery maker: An obvious hurdle that EVs need to surmount is the battery life/range anxiety issue -- note the hoopla about Tesla's 90-second battery swap, for example. So it's interesting to see failed automaker CODA resurrecting itself as an energy storage company, focused on smart grid and smart building batteries. Maybe, if they're more successful this time around, an automobile spinoff will be in the offing...

Travelers photo by Dinga on Shutterstock.

IKEA adds more EV charging stations: Speaking of EVs, the furniture retailer will add 24 EcoTality charging stations to stores in four states as well as its corporate HQ, nearly doubling the number of chargers at IKEA stores in the U.S.

• IBM brings Big Data to a pristine ecosystem: In partnership with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM has just launched a project to make upstate New York's Lake George the "smartest lake in the world." Using sensors, analytics, 3D modeling and other systems, IBM and Rensselaer will identify environmental stressors to the body of water, while also mapping the real-time health of the lake and its possible future water conditions.

Odds 'n' Sods

• UL moves forward on zero-waste certifications: Underwriters Laboratories continues to push on its goal to certify companies' zero-waste claims. The company has just announced a number of partnerships in the US and UK to reach more companies that have announced or want to plan zero waste to landfill goals or achievements.

• Carbon offsets for private jets: I know carbon offsets have taken a lot of lumps in the past decade, and that investing in clean energy projects and other carbon-reduction efforts is certainly better than not doing so, but TerraPass is not going to shake off the "carbon indulgences" rap by partnering with SmartJets to offset private air travel.

• More pollution = fewer hurricanes? I'm no climate scientist, and I don't live in the North Atlantic hurricane zone, but I'm not sure that this is a good suggestion: "Want fewer hurricanes? Pollute the air."

• There's big money in climate adaptation: Sea walls, desalination plants and sewer-system upgrades are just a few of many ways that companies and governments will adapt to rising seas and the other impacts of a changing climate. There's going to be so much demand for companies to help regions prepare for climate change that a new report from EBI predicts 12-20 percent annual growth for "adaptation services."

• Also, read this: Why the city of Miami is doomed to drown.

Travelers photo by Dinga on Shutterstock.