Report: Korea Is Leaving U.S. Behind in Green IT

Report: Korea Is Leaving U.S. Behind in Green IT

The U.S. is well behind South Korea in green IT, and could well fall even further behind if action isn't taken soon, warns a new report. Even in areas where the U.S. holds a clear advantage, such as cloud computing, it could give up its lead.
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The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation's Daniel Castro wrote the report, available here. Castro notes that the private sector can only go so far when it comes to Green IT; government action is needed to spur development. He writes:
...the speed of development can be accelerated by those nations who spur investment in green IT. Moreover, the major energy-saving benefts of these innovations will primarily be enjoyed by those nations that make use of these new technologies.
He goes on to say:
South Korea in particular has been active in this area and has developed a comprehensive set of policies designed to transform the nation into a low- carbon economy and society. The Korean strategy addresses how to make the IT sector more energy effcient, how to use IT to transform society and how to pursue "green jobs."
The South Korean commitment goes beyond policies -- more important, it includes plenty of cash. He writes that the government is committed spending billions in the next several years for green IT.

He notes in the report that for now, the U.S. holds the lead in cloud computing, a significant technology for Green IT. But he warns that we may well relinquish that lead:
the market is always in flux and policies to support continuous development are needed if U.S. companies hope to retain their dominance as premier providers of green solutions.
Finally, he warns that the U.S. needs to take the kind of concerted action being taken by South Korea:
The United States needs a national green IT strategy to ensure that it not only becomes a chief exporter of such technology, but that it also becomes one of the top users. Policymakers must remember the adage that "the shoemaker's children are often shoeless," and include policies that not only spur development of green IT, but also the domestic application of such technology. Such policies should include national large-scale infrastructure investments in areas such as intelligent transportation systems and the smart grid, as well as IT projects in other areas including telemedicine, on-line distance education, and telework. Moreover, these policies should include supporting investment in digital infrastructure, such as developing a national broadband plan designed to maximize the energy-savings possible from next-generation communication networks.
If the U.S. wants to stay pre-eminent in technology, and lead the way to a new Green IT industry, the government needs to take more action. If not, we may do more than just export jobs overseas -- we may export one of the world's biggest-growth industries as well.
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