“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 previously estimated,” Greenpeace writes.
“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,” Greenpeace writes. “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.”
MacDailyNews Take: One would surmise that when iPad becomes insanely popular, quite a few forests worth of greenhouse gas-absorbing trees will be spared from paper mills, right? So, how many iPad-saved trees would it take offset Apple’s carbon footprint?
Greenpeace continues, “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.”
“IT companies… could use that influence to promote policies that will allow them to grow responsibly without fueling climate change,” Greenpeace writes. “For example, 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 grid.”
Greenpeace writes, “The IT sector has the ability to help us combat climate change by innovating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: What percentage of the current period of climate change is attributable to human activity? We ask because Greenpeace seems to attribute approximately 100% of the cause of climate change to human activity, but we all know that past periods of climate change (warming and subsequent cooling) occurred without humans burning coal, oil, and gas; in fact, past periods of dramatic climate change happened without humans at all. These past periods of climate change have been attributed to the release of carbon dioxide and methane greenhouse gases due to large volcanic eruptions, undersea landslides, and also with periods of greater sun activity, among other theories. So, if humans instantaneously disappeared right now, to what degree would this current period of climate change be “combatted?” 100%, 0.01%, or what? We don’t know. Does anybody?
If we all went solar today, could we affect climate change drastically or would it be barely noticeable? If we all went solar in 1920, would the climate be cooler (or warmer) than it is today? If so, by how much? A lot or a little? Knowing what percentage of the current period of climate change is attributable to human activity would give us a much better handle on how much time, money, energy, and emotion should be invested in reducing human-generated emissions. If anyone can point us to apolitical, untainted sources, we’re interested in exploring their findings and learning about their methodology.
Despite not knowing the degree of influence humans have on climate change, we agree with the basic premise that renewable, clean energy is the superior choice for large – and small – energy consumers whenever reasonably possible if, for no other reason, than spewing pollutants (sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, arsenic, lead, mercury, etc.) into the air and water is simply not healthy!
The electricity to run Apple’s billion-dollar data center in Maiden, NC is generated via nuclear power. The Town of Maiden operates its own electric distribution system and substations. Maiden is a member of North Carolina Municipal Power Agency which obtains power from the Catawba Nuclear Station. This association provides Maiden with an abundance of base load generation.
[UPDATE: 11:45am EDT: Added the info and link regarding the source of electricity for Apple’s billion-dollar data center in Maiden, NC.]
[Attribution: AppleInsider. Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Greg H.” and “Jersey_Trader” for the heads up.]