Greenpeace: Cloud Computing A Potential Future GHG Issue?

With the release date of the Apple iPad coming this Saturday April 3, Greenpeace is taking time to remind everyone that cloud computing devices like it raise “fresh questions about how the Internet is powered and whether the IT sector will continue to fuel climate change by increasing demand for dirty coal power.” All is not lost though, as Greenpeace also points out that “IT can become a transformative force by advocating for solutions that increase renewable energy use and reduce global warming pollution.”

In a report published today by the environmental organization responsible for the Guide to Greener Gadgets, Greenpeace points out that cloud-based computing – a concept that “allows devices like the iPad to access online services like social networks and video streaming” – may have a larger carbon footprint than the average consumer thinks. It was observed through metrics that “at current growth rates, data centers and telecommunication networks, the two key components of the cloud, will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatts hours of electricity in 2020, more than triple their current consumption and over half the current electricity consumption of the United States — or more than France, Germany, Canada and Brazil — combined.”

Greenpeace

image via Greenpeace

Greenpeace, in explaining its report called “Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and its Contribution to Climate Change,” says it is not picking on Apple or the iPad specifically. The organization says instead that we all 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.” Greenpeace is calling upon the IT industry to embrace carbon cutting technologies by putting their collective backs into influencing “government policies that give priority grid access for renewable sources like wind and solar energy” while also supporting “economy-wide climate and energy policies around the world that peak climate emissions by 2015.”

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.