Red Hat to Build Analytics Platform to Help Combat Climate Change

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Red Hat this week revealed it is building an open platform that aggregates a variety of structured and unstructured data, ranging from SEC filings and corporate PDFs to scientific and market research, into a single library of trusted data that organizations can rely on to combat climate change. The move comes after the company joined a non-profit organization made up primarily of financial services companies that are committed to finding ways to use open source technologies to limit the effects of climate change.

Data stored in the OS-Climate Data Commons platform built for the non-profit OS-Climate organization will be made accessible via open source analytics tools IT and made interoperable with tooling that organizations already use to manage  workflows and internal processes. That effort is intended to provide a portable platform for managing complex data ingestion and processing flows using the latest advances in machine learning algorithms to collate and sanitize public and proprietary data sources. This process should make it easier for organizations to achieve compliance mandates by more accurately aggregating corporate climate and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.

Other members of the non-profit OS-Climate organization include Allianz, Amazon, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Microsoft and the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance.

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Climate Change’s Impact on IT Processes

In addition to creating new compliance requirements, climate change issues are also starting to have a significant impact on organizations that are evaluating how much carbon they are generating. Regardless of how much anyone in IT might subscribe to the science of climate change, organizations are starting to factor it into IT decisions that might result in the shifting of more workloads to the cloud to reduce carbon emissions.

IT, of course, is only a small part of the overall climate change equation. However, organizations are attempting to reduce the amount of carbon they generate to qualify for financial incentives that governments around the world are starting to make available. There are also penalties that require organizations to buy carbon credits from other organizations, some of which may even be rivals.

Achieving Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

The overall goal of the Red Hat effort is to make it make easier for organizations that rely extensively on IT to achieve net-zero carbon emissions goals they have set for themselves in keeping with the mandates created by the Paris Climate Accords, say Kelly Switt, senior director for financial services industry strategy, ecosystem and strategic partnerships at Red Hat. As part of that effort, it needs to become simpler for organizations to determine what action they might take that will make a meaningful difference, adds Switt. “Otherwise, there tends to be this paralysis of analysis,” she says.

Organizations across every major vertical industry sector will eventually need to come to terms with climate change regulatory requirements. The initial challenge most of them will encounter is simply finding reliable data upon which they can build a strategy to reduce their carbon footprint. An open source platform that reduces the total cost of collecting that data may very well turn out to be the first step toward achieving that goal in a way that doesn’t cost more than the organization might ultimately save.

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