Energy Efficiency & Renewables 27 – 29.03.2018
Energy Efficiency & Renewables 27 – 29.03.2018

Is using the internet as carbon heavy as flying?

2013-03-08 10:42:19

Is using the internet as carbon heavy as flying?


by Sara Ayech, originally published by Transition Network  | Mar 5, 2013

For this week’s opening piece on technology I wanted to find out more about communications technology. Phones, computers and the internet have become crucial not just in my own life but also to the spread of the Transition movement, and an essential part of projects like Social Reporting. A book published last year, ‘Greening the Media’, reports that in 2007 emissions from electricity consumed by information technology were 2.5-3% of the total, and comparable with aviation, but this is not something my Transition group have yet discussed, nor something there seems much getting away from. So I spoke to my friend Toby Miller (co-author with Richard Maxwell, of Greening the Media) to find out more.

 

Sara: I was interested that the book considers the inputs and outputs of our technology use in an ecological, almost permaculture way.

Toby: That’s very important. It’s very easy when you have an object in front of you, to think of it only in terms of its utility, but very difficult to think about it in terms of labour and the earth, and equally difficult to think of it as having a life once it’s passed out of our hands. We favour a life-cycle approach to consumer technology that highlights in equal measure the costs as well as the benefits of the gadgets we analyse.

Sara: I guess I hadn’t thought about my phone ultimately being a product of the earth at some level, as technology just seems so disconnected.

Toby: That’s right, it’s hard to make these connections, but we think it’s very important because one way in which people can act responsibly is to make themselves aware of the hidden environmental costs and share this knowledge.

Sara: So if in 2007 emissions from information technology were comparable with those from aviation, by now they must be far greater.

Toby: Well the chances are they are. Aviation was affected by the recession and although information and communication technology hasn’t gone up consistently, overall the trend shows a huge increase. There is an issue of how we measure and compare these things – so server farms, ships taking divers to check if underwater cables are working correctly – which bit of that is part of your carbon footprint when you are on the internet? And you can also argue that if a computer stops you from doing other more carbon heavy things (like flying), over a period of time then it’s worthwhile.

The question of measuring impacts also applies to the difference between reading a newspaper or book electronically versus in print. There’s a survey that says well over three quarters of book buyers in the UK think that it’s better for the environment to read on an e-book reader rather than buy a printed copy. And it’s true that two thirds of the carbon footprint in publishing comes from paper, whereas e-book readers don’t need pulping, printing or bleaching. There is just a one-off transportation of getting the e-book reader to you. So people say that the carbon footprint of a Kindle is off-set in a year. But, if you add the input of the production of the e-book reader, the raw materials, the manufacture, assembly, transport, plus its disposal, we’re talking about lots of minerals, lots of water, the electricity for all that, generally powered by fossil fuels, and the emissions from that whole process. Then, there’s the disposal of the device. Central processing units, which are in every computer, phone etc. have lots of toxins and carcinogens. Basically, there’s no universal method for comparing the emissions from books versus e-readers.

Read more: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-03-05/is-using-the-internet-as-carbon-heavy-as-flying

Press Release for "Energy Efficiency & Renewables 27 – 29.03.2018" :
  • Ireland Launches Energy Efficiency Fund
  • Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘Renewable energy: a major player in the European energy market’
  • EU Energy Security: Looking to Biogas and Renewables
  • Biogas From Garbage Powers Monterrey’s City Lights
  • Estonia Is 1st Country In The World To Install Nationwide System Of Fast Chargers For EVs
  • Meeting The Renewable Energy Targets: Governments Make It More Difficult For Themselves In The Long-Run
  • Serbia Seeks Investors to Develop 317 Small Hydro Plants
  • The growth of the secondary photovoltaic market
  • Bulgarian exports to third countries up 12.8% year-on-year in 2012
  • Germany: Solar Process Heat Support Shows First Results
  • Amendments to Bulgaria's Energy Efficiency Act Pass First Reading
  • EU law to create market for electric cars
  • BGWEA open letter to prime-minister/position on referendum
  • Solar Demand Outlook: Europe
  • Germany set to launch incentives for PV storage systems
  • New solar subsidies in Poland delayed
  • It’s Not Easy Being Net-Zero
  • LEED Certifications for Federal Buildings Rise More Than 50%
  • ANALYSIS: The UK learns to love PV
  • IN DEPTH: Kjaer in 2030 plea
  • IEA-RETD launches new policy action plan
  • EC Probes Grid Fee for Bulgarian Renewable Energy Producers
  • EU establishes guidelines for renewable energy policy
  • Energy Community of South East Europe adopts a regional energy strategy
  • European cities may be able to reduce their energy consumption by 30%
  • Greece Plans To Introduce New Taxation on Existing Solar Plants
  • EC Probes Bulgaria over Renewable Energy Surcharge
  • Report: Worldwide BIPV sales to reach US$7.5 billion by 2015
  • Barack Obama Says Renewables Are the Future
  • Energy Community Ministerial Council adopts Renewable Energy 2020 targets
  • Bulgaria Seeks Consultant for Designing Energy Efficiency Obligations System
  • Bulgarian Renewable Energy Producers to Alert EC over Grid Access Fee
  • Thuringia Celebrates Its Largest Solar Park in Ronneburg
  • PV Plants To Be Remotely Operated From ABB Control Center In Sofia – Bulgaria
  • Data Centers Waste Vast Amounts of Energy, Belying Industry Image - NYT
  • Bulgaria's Economic Recovery to Accelerate in 2013 - Report
  • Americans don't know that $22 are given in subsidies for fossil and nuclear energy for every one dollar given to renewables
  • No Half Measures: Investment Needs in Energy Efficiency and Renewables in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Schwarzenegger calls for level energy playing field
  • Under the Auspices of:

    In Partnership with:


     

    Official Media Partner :  

     

    VIP Company: