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From the Ground at COP15: Politics excluded, real solutions are simply smart


The snow has blanketed COP15, and ice with snow set to fall tonight on the delegates and the country.  It has been an exciting week at COP15 for those of us attending for business and industry - far less frustrating, during talks, than for the politicians, though equally frustrating with the endless lines in the freezing weather for entry to UNFCCC events.

Yesterday's Mayors' Summit was easily among the most collaborative events wherein mayors from many of the world's largest urban centers gathered alongside of academics and leaders from business and industry to meet and share ideas in the old halls of The University of Copenhagen, established in the 15th century.  ARC3 researchers and mayors agree that while COP15 debates continue, urban centers represent a central variable not just to climate discussions, but also to be the loci of change because of the population densities and increased public health, energy and transportation issues taxing these cities' infrastructure.

So, what does all this have to do with semiconductors?  Quite a lot, actually.  One of the critical issues to climate debates at these levels is people's behavior around energy use and 'smart metering' systems are agreed to be a turnkey device; particularly in the ability to facilitate behavioral change by allowing people to self-regulate, for whatever reasons they choose, their energy use. 

The heart of smart meters?  Yup, semiconductor chips.  These smart meters, along with the necessary investments beginning to roll into 'smart grids', especially in the US, are effective opportunities for improving energy efficiency and reducing energy waste, along distribution lines (the grid) as well as at the consumer level.

What's smart about the new bidirectional meters and bidirectional grid systems? Hardware, middleware and software.  We are in the midst of a new, green economy, as many leading economists here report in personal interviews conducted this week.  For the semi and electronics industry, advanced metering systems (hardware and bidirectional communication grid devices) are likely to be as important to our bright future as mobile phones and laptops have been.  Watch for more details in this Commentary space from all that's being learned by Smith & Associates' COP15 attendance over the next few weeks, and in the January edition of MarketWatch Quarterly.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Thursday, 17 December 2009 00:00 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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