Dennis Pamlin, Low Carbon Leaders… and an iPhone app

No, this is not going to become just another iPhone blog… I promise. But I did come across an interesting iPhone / Android app when catching up online with what Dennis Pamlin is up to. Mr Pamlin (never met him, don’t want to be overly-familiar) is one of those people who always seems to be at the centre of something interesting. He used to be Global Policy Advisor for WWF, but now seems to turn his hand to whatever he finds interesting in relation to technology and climate change – he lists himself as ‘Advisor and Entrepreneur’ on his LinkedIn profile, which is a great title.

Anyway, he’s currently Senior Associate at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences amongst other things, but two of his other current projects caught my eye. The first was the app: 21st Century office. (You don’t need a mobile device to try it, the web version works fine too.) It’s an attempt to change the way we work, and measure the carbon emissions which our 20thCentury knowledge work  creates.

You feed in various data about your commuting / work habits, and it lets you know how you compare with the average ‘knowledge worker’ in terms of teleworking, business travel, commuting, printing paper etc. There’s also an attempt to ‘leverage web2.0 crowd-sourcing tools, to help transform our society towards extreme resource efficiency’. Translated, this seems to mean that users can suggest ways to save energy. One of the most popular suggestions is to use gadgets like iPhones and iPads to save on printing… so now I have an excuse to buy an iPad: it’s not geeky consumerdom, it’s extreme resource efficiency in action. OK, all joking aside, this is an interesting way to grab some attention, and at least make people think about how they could change their work habits.

What really caught my eye, though, was the Low Carbon Leaders Project for Transformative Solutions. Once I’d finished wondering how much carbon the missing apostrophe in the project title had saved, I noticed that this was launched a couple of months ago as part of the UN Global Compact’s Caring for Climate initiative… and that Pamlin is the Executive Director (perhaps not a surprise, as the project is supported by WWF and builds strongly on an earlier report involving Pamlin while working for them). The project aims to share transformative solutions for a low-carbon future (more crowd-sourcing I’m afraid). The website will allow companies to demonstrate their solutions online on a web2.0 platform. (This is due to launch soon, at the moment companies have to submit solutions by email which seems very 20th Century…) Beyond this show-and-tell, one of the project objectives is to ‘explore existing and possible policy support for accelerated uptake of transformative low carbon solutions’, so the report should be required reading for EU policy-makers interested in the issue… which should mean all of them surely? I’d let this project escape my attention until now, but the final report is due out at the start of October. Unfortunately that is just after the ICT 2010 conference organised by the European Commission, which will have a significant focus on the issue of ICT and energy efficiency.


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