IBM to invest $200 million in climate change research

08 December 2017 2 min. read
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To support the scientific community in its efforts to understand the impact of climate change, IBM is offering around $200 million for five climate-related projects that will leverage its World Community Grid network.

Climate change is an increasing risk to the long-term success of current forms of human civilisation, not merely for those that consume the largest share of the pie. Staving off the most devastating impacts of climate change on the environment, economic stability and people, the international community took a step forward with the Paris Agreement. The agreement aims to limit total warming to 2.0 C, while striving to limit warming to 1.5 C, a temperature seen as allowing climate systems globally to remain relatively stable.

While progress seemed to be made by the agreement, significant hurdles remain in its implementation. Getting the various special interest groups, particularly in the business community, to align their lobby action with the Paris Agreement targets remains a difficult process, due to the fact that most companies are driven by short-term profitability. Meanwhile the US Government set a dangerous precedent by pulling out of the accord in the early days of Donald Trump’s Presidency.IBM to invest 200 million in climate change research

Not all businesses, however, take a short-term view of their operations, with increasing numbers of CEOs seeing reason, as a destroyed planet will even impact them and their shareholders in the long-run. In this vain, IBM recently announced it will direct around $200 million into five climate-related projects. Despite a rocky year financially, which saw global revenues further stagnate at the global technology giant, the organisation still saw fit to support scientists in their pursuit to better understand the consequences of humanity’s current uncritical climate forcing experiments.

The funds will be awarded to projects that are judged to have the greatest potential impact on our understanding of climate change, and that consider strategies to mitigate its effects. The five projects would also be able to take advantage of IBM’s World Community Grid, an IBM Citizenship initiative that taps into the combined computing power of 730,000 worldwide volunteers. A similar project was recently run on such a network, allowing Harvard University to identify 36,000 carbon-based compounds that may approximately double the efficiency of most organic solar cells currently in production.

Commenting on the projects, Jennifer Ryan Crozier, Vice President of IBM Corporate Citizenship and President of the IBM International Foundation, said, "Computational research is a powerful tool for advancing research on climate change and related environmental challenges... IBM is proud to help advance essential efforts to combat climate change by providing scientists with free access to massive computing power, cloud resources, and weather data."