Help fight climate change at the flick of a switch, campaign says

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Help fight climate change at the flick of a switch, campaign says

A new campaign and labelling initiative launched in Sydney aims to reduce carbon emissions by promoting the simple solution of turning off computers when they are not in use.

Organisers for the "Computers Off" campaign aim to educate Australians about the environmental impact of continuous computer operation, and the savings that can be produced by turning computers off and implementing power-saving features.

To achieve this they have created a website with dedicated sections for consumers, businesses and government organisations.

A series of viral videos have been created to promote the website.

According to campaign founder Mark Winter, the campaigners don't plan to stop at Australia.

"The opportunity for us here in Australia is to lead by example and show the rest of the world that we can achieve something that we probably didn't think possible," he says.

"By coming together and turning our computers off when they are not being used, not only can we can make a real difference, we can leave our children's children with a habitable planet. Then, our plan is to take this initiative to the rest of the globe."

The campaign will also create a Computers Off label which organisations with conservationist practices in place can apply for. But to be accepted organisations will have to meet stringent guidelines and codes of practices, and will be audited at random to ensure continued compliance.

According to estimates produced by the campaign, if Australian homes, businesses and organisations were to start turning off their computers when not in use and implement power saving settings, they could collectively reduce carbon emissions by nearly 8 million tons.

This is the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road, or planting 2.1 million trees.

Even the campaign's secondary goal of promoting power-saving settings, if successful, could make a significant difference. According to the campaigners up to 80 percent of computer users never adjust these settings, and many computers have power-saving disabled by default.

The campaign will also support the aim of the Intel-funded Climate Savers Computing Initiative [CSCI] program to reduce ICT-related carbon emissions 50 percent by 2010.

Estimates released by Gartner and others predict that computers are responsible for around 2-3% of total carbon emissions worldwide, equivalent to emissions from the Aviation industry.

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