Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The digital world is costing the earth

Guillaume Pitron

Greetings from the ANU, where Guillaume Pitron, is talking on his new book "The Dark Cloud. How the digital world is costing the earth". This reveals how apparently clean computers have a dirty secret: they use energy and materials. The discussion ranged wider over how green smart cities are. 

Of course none of this is new to computer professionals. In 2008 the ACS commissioned me to write a course on green computing. In this students learn to estimate and then reduce carbon emissions and materials from computers. The course is still running 24 years later in Canada. Along with our colleagues in engineering we have been working on these issues for decades. Guillaume, as a journalist has provided a valuable service by relating what we knew in an accessable way for the public.

We don't have to stop using computers, just use them better. Hopefully this will form a central role at COP28. I asked Guillaume how we could get this on the agenda. He suggested it is a role for NGOs, and not expect Internet companies to act.

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