If your community/organisation/company is interested, I am keen to give on-line talks about #FrugalComputing, aka Low Carbon and Sustainable Computing.
Example topics are:
On the need for low-carbon and sustainable computing and the path towards zero-carbon computing.
How to reduce the carbon footprint of your digital lifestyle
Frugal computing: developer perspective
On the need for low-carbon and sustainable computing and what developers can do about it.
But happy to discuss specific topics in this area.
(boosts much appreciated!)
@wim_v12e I'm wondering if there are any rough calculators that help estimate emissions per newer device, or emissions per MB of network I/O? It might help decide between tradeoffs, i.e. shipping an extra 54kb of polyfill JS to make a website work on IE 8 might be worth it if it allows X people to not upgrade their computers, or if our webapp can work on machines that are 9 years older than local apps could, it would be worth it, even with the network costs?
@brycew In practice it's quite simple. If your device is a phone, then the main emissions are from manufacturing. This is also the case for most laptops, unless you do a lot of gaming in which case CPU use will dominate.
I'd say network traffic only really matters for HD video. Watching TV for an hour is easily 1GB.
Actual CO2 emissions per MB of network I/O are quite hard to quantify. It depends on the amount of renewables used to power the network infrastructure along the path. There is also a fundamental question if the network emissions grow linear with the amount of data transferred or not. And that depends on a lot of factors.
In practice, I think most of the emissions from network I/O are actually incurred in the data centre that serves the data because at that point it is definitely proportional to the amount of data.
One of my MSc students made a model that takes into account emissions from manufacturing but I'm not sure it is accurate enough to release it.
@wim_v12e I don't get it. If I live in a country that has very high renewable energy usage and data centers are local, then my internet usage (not counting manufacturing) should be low carbon, right?
If you live in Scotland (for example) and only access local data centres and keep your devices for 20 years, then yes indeed.
On a global scale, renewables are a very small fraction of total electricity generation. And climate change is a global problem. So I take the global view. Also, my primary concern is with the growth which is much faster than the growth in renewables.
Do you know / can you link something telling how much energy computing alone currently consumes?
@zuz The energy consumption of all communication and computation technology currently in use in the world is currently around 3,000 TWh, about 11% of the world's electricity consumption.
It amounts for about 3.5% of global emissions.
Networks are estimated to contribute between 24% and 35% of this total, so computing is between 76% and 64% of the above figures.
1. this is really cool data, kudos
2. 3000TWh total _REALLY_ puts the estimated Bitcoin blockchain consumption of ~200TWh annually into perspective. That's more than a twentieth of ALL computing 😱
@shi The problem with proof-of-work cryptocurrencies lies more in their projected growth than in their current emissions. That is the case for all of ICT emissions.
@wim_v12e Oh 100%, I just never had such a concrete ballpark measurement for how massive the usage of the big chains is, since the TWh figures by themselves or things like "the equivalent of X average households" aren't really concrete, but - to me at least - the "a 20th of all computing worldwide" is VERY tangible.