"Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and its
Contribution to Climate Change," shows how the launch of
quintessential cloud computing devices like the Apple iPad, which
offer users access to the "cloud" of online services like social
networks and video streaming, can contribute to a much larger
carbon footprint of the Information Technology (IT) sector than
To be clear: We are not picking on Apple. We are not dissing the
iPad. But maybe someone can come up with an app that calculates the
carbon footprint of using different web sites based on their
location and energy deals. Apple is the master of promotion, and
while we marvel at the sleek unpolluted design of the iPad, we need to
think about where this is all leading and how like all good surfers
we can make sure our environment stays clean and green.
The report builds on previous industry
research and shows that at current growth rates data centers
and telecommunication networks will consume about 1,963 billion
kilowatt hours of electricity in 2020. That is more than triple
their current consumption and more than the current electricity
consumption of France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined.
However, the report also shows how IT can avert climate chaos by
becoming a transformative force advocating for solutions that
increase the use of renewable energy.
Download the PDF
As the internet grows as a platform - a place where more things
are done, not only stored away - the IT industry's hunger for
energy will increase. Efficiency is a hot topic in IT, but
improving energy efficiency is only part of the solution, the
industry also needs to take responsibility for where it gets its
energy from in the first place. Simply put: Will the cloud run on
coal or renewable energy?
IT companies like
Microsoft, Google, and
IBM are now in powerful positions at the local, national, and
international levels. They could
use that influence to promote policies that will allow them to
grow responsibly without fueling climate change.
Facebook recently announced the construction of its own data
center in Prineville, Oregon, running primarily on coal.
By choosing energy company PacifiCorp, a utility that sources
the majority of its power from coal-fired power stations, Facebook
missed a chance to promote the use of renewable energy and instead
reinforced the coal industry's grip on the United Sates power
Facebook members aren't taking this sitting down. More than
365,00 have joined
groups in the weeks since Facebook's announcement, calling on
the company to quit coal and become a climate leader.
The IT sector has the ability to help us combat climate change
by innovating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase
energy efficiency. Technologies that enable smart grids, zero
emission buildings and more efficient transport systems are key to
cutting climate change pollution. But, given the current expansion
in cloud computing, the IT industry also needs to get its own
carbon footprint under control.
We are calling on IT industry giants to put their might behind
government policies that give priority grid access for renewable
sources like wind and solar energy. IT companies should also
support economy-wide climate and energy policies around the world
that peak climate emissions by 2015.
Please help us encourage the 21st century's great innovators to
look beyond the cloud, to look beyond simply cutting their fuel
bills and towards an energy revolution based on renewable energy
Join one of our Facebook groups and help us get the social networking website to kick the coal habit, and go green.
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