Cloud computing and climate change
Wednesday 31 March 2010
Just days before Apple's iPad hits the market, Greenpeace has released a report looking at the impact of cloud computing and devices that rely on it to access online services such as social networks and video streaming. "Make IT Green," published March 30, estimates that the energy consumption of cloud computing will triple by 2020 if left unchecked and calls on tech companies to work toward new energy solutions.
Greenpeace says that it is not "picking on Apple," but that "while we marvel at the sleek unpolluted design of the iPad, we need to think about where this is all leading." It points to the use of dirty energy in the IT sector, namely by Facebook, which recently announced the construction of a data center that will run primarily on coal.
The report finds that at current growth rates, data centers and telecommunication networks, the two key components of the "cloud," will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2020, more than triple their current consumption and over half the current electricity consumption of the United States - or more than France, Germany, Canada, and Brazil combined.
Critics argue that Greenpeace's report is misleading in its urgency, underplaying the small proportion of carbon emissions produced by the cloud computing industry.
Alex Steffen at Worldchanging (www.worldchanging.com) notes: "Sounds scary, right? Except when you actually look up the numbers. ...The global IT industry as a whole generates about 2% of global CO2 emissions," a number he cites from the UK's Times Online. Steffen argues that targeting trendy techologies "may pull hits," but "If Greenpeace really wants to get up in people's grill about something that needs to change, it should start with their cars."
However dire the threat, Greenpeace does suggest solutions. The report calls on IT companies to support government policies that give priority grid access for renewable sources of energy, increase the supply of zero carbon energy sources such as wind and solar, and aim to reduce emissions to near zero by 2050.
The full study: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/make-it-green-cloud-computing
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...