Panel: Climate Change and Computers


Bill Weihl, Green Energy Czar, Google

Chris Geiger, Municipal Toxics Reduction Coordinator, San Francisco Department of the Environment

Subodh Bapat, Vice President and Distinguished Engineer in the Eco Responsibility Office, Sun Microsystems

The digital age is improving the quality of our lives in many ways. But with advanced technology comes greater energy consumption and an impact on our environment. Bill Weihl, Google’s “Green Energy Czar,” and other energy experts will address the environmental impact of the digital age. The panelists will also explore how computers contribute to and can help solve today's most urgent environmental challenges.

Bill Weihl leads Google’s efforts in energy efficiency and the development and deployment of renewable energy. He is also a board member of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a coalition of businesses and consumers committed to manufacturing and purchasing power-efficient computing products. According to Mr. Weihl, “The collective voice of our members, from companies to state governments, sends a strong message to manufacturers and retailers that there is real demand for energy- and cost-efficient computing solutions.”

As Vice President and Distinguished Engineer in Sun's Eco Responsibility Office, Subodh Bapat works across every business unit at Sun to drive greater energy efficiency into the company's products, from microprocessors, to hardware, to software. Bapat holds 16 patents and has served in numerous CTO positions throughout Sun. According to Bapat, "Technology is part of the solution to global warming, but it is also part of the problem. Computers are mapping global hot spots and allowing us to avoid auto emissions by ordering goods online -- but computers are also contributing to climate change because they use energy. With 12 million new people getting online each week, computing must become more eco friendly."

Chris Geiger has over twenty-two years of experience working on environmental issues. Geiger helped San Francisco become the first city in the nation to enact a law that requires the city to take public health and environmental stewardship into consideration when purchasing products. Geiger manages the Green Purchasing and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program for the City and County of San Francisco Department of the Environment. He has worked to find innovative ways to get 27,000 City and County employees to purchase SF Approved green products, such as computers that meet or exceed the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Silver standard.

This program was recorded in front of a live audience on May 6, 2008