Can we de-carbonise the Internet?

A few months ago, Greenpeace succeeded in getting Facebook to unfriend Coal. Now they are trying to get Apple Amazon and Microsoft all to clean up their acts also; to use only electricity from renewable energy sources to power the Cloud. Internet-based companies could lead the clean energy [R]evolution Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are leaders when it comes to innovative technology. While their products are cutting edge, what about the giant data centers they use to store and send, for example, our iPhotos, iTunes, Apps… they all use coal β€” the oldest, dirtiest power source. Getting Apple, Amazon and Microsoft off coal is a big deal, data centers are one of the fastest growing sources of new electricity demand in the world. But here’s how we can do it: 1. It’s innovative: These companies are the most cutting-edge in the world; and they don’t want their customers associating their brand with a 19th Century energy source that is poisoning the air and wrecking our climate. 2. It’s practical: technology that uses clean and unlimited energy sources like the sun and the wind are available today at the scale required. Greenpeace is already working with Facebook to make the switch right now and they’d be happy to work with others. 3. It’s right: These aren’t evil companies. Their executives care about the world their children will inherit, just like we do. Tell Apple, Amazon and Microsoft that you want a coal-free cloud. Please help Greenpeace succeed again…go here, watch the video, and sign the ePetition. Thank you.


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Energy Crisis, Environment, Ethics, Fossil Fuels, Renewable Energy. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Can we de-carbonise the Internet?

  1. pendantry says:

    Now the penny drops πŸ™‚ In all fairness to you, yours took longer to craft; mostly anyone with a blog can embed a video (that’s all I did) or add a link to help the meme…

    … anyone… … anyone… … Bueller…


  2. Lionel A says:

    There you go, clouds can have a positive feedback effect no matter what Lindzen thinks, or rather promotes, they being two different things.


  3. Lionel A says:

    Whilst Amazon is in the picture, I have pondered lately how much carbon is locked up in books throughout the world. Is the Kindle, and its ilk, a good thing by saving all the fuel costs printing and transporting heavy books around or will me miss the book reservoir of carbon as libraries continue to off-load their books. As a largely non-fiction reader I have given up on our local library as most of the interesting books have gone. This is a trend across the country as I note when purchasing some on my specialist interests which are second hand and ex-library stock from various parts of the country. Coincidentally, a couple came from the very Bookshop in Wigtown, Ayrshire that I was lucky enough to have a browse around about four years ago. Ever been to Hay-on-Wye – a bookworms paradise? Seriously, call me a Luddite if you like, but I find it difficult reading from a screen and would much sooner have a book that I can peruse using free daylight in any place I like without a need to worry about batteries. Do any models of e-book readers operate using solar cells yet? If they don’t, they should. But think of all those rare earth elements (Lanthanides and Actinides), and other elements that are essential in manufacture of any mobile device with a screen, materials which are the cause of much conflict in Africa for example. Same goes for all mobile com’s devices of course and many other examples that are must haves to many these days. Like all data on electronic devices it can die from the device becoming obsolete by the next cool new thing to come along. Also, I doubt one can swap books between devices (format differences aside I suspect copyright kicks in somewhere) so lending a book out becomes a non starter. A book, as long as it holds together will stay compatible and loanable and keep its carbon locked up.


    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks for these comments Lionel, I sympathise with you a lot: I prefer reading books and, indeed, prefer to buy them; rather than borrow them from libraries. However, I also accept that a lot less paper would be required if people could get out of the habit of buying and keeping books…. but that, like a lot of other things to do with moving to a more sustainable path, would put people out of work… and therein is the conundrum of growthmania once more: Growth cannot be the solution to all our problems because it is our ultimate problem.


      • Lionel A says:

        Maybe for pulp fiction a kindle-type is OK, but the sort of books I mostly use are referred to again and again with much cross referring at that whilst sifting the facts. From warship architecture, maritime and aviation history, how aircraft fly and their engines work and how sailing vessels were sailed – four points off the wind, sailing large and all that and I check narratives in books to ensure that what is written stacks up. My interests are broad – jack of all trades I suppose – and master of none – although I have been professionally engaged in aviation and once was an 8-bit programming buff and have worked sailing vessels. But if you ask me one on sport I would fail dismally.


      • Rick Altman says:

        Will you be going to see the newly-re-opened-to-the-public Cutty Sark? If I was working, I would definitely take my children to see it; it looks amazing. In 2009/10, we went round the SS Great Britain in Bristol and the RY Britannia in Edinburgh; and they enjoyed both of them…


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