Consumers expect tech to drive sustainability innovation

Read the full story at Morning Consult.

The technology industry is benefiting from a halo effect when it comes to sustainability.

Over the past few years, nearly every major technology company has announced sustainability goals, ranging from electrifying delivery fleets to eliminating plastics in product packaging to achieving carbon neutrality by target dates. Amazon.com Inc., for example, in 2019 co-founded The Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2040. A few months later, Microsoft Corp. announced it was aiming to be carbon negative by 2030. Six months after that, Apple Inc. committed to going 100% carbon neutral by the same year — and then Google announced plans to run on carbon-free energy by 2030. 

But tech is not unique in these ambitious climate targets. Industry leaders across sectors have made similar commitments. Morning Consult research shows that what makes tech’s position unique is that consumers are more likely to view it as part of the solution than the problem when it comes to sustainability, albeit with somewhat higher expectations to drive innovation in this space and to deliver on promises.

How to shrink AI’s ballooning carbon footprint

Read the full story in Nature.

As machine-learning experiments get more sophisticated, their carbon footprints are ballooning. Now, researchers have calculated the carbon cost of training a range of models at cloud-computing data centres in various locations. Their findings could help researchers to reduce the emissions created by work that relies on artificial intelligence (AI).

IT Efficiency: The Critical Core of Digital Sustainability

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A digital sustainability strategy should incorporate both the facilities and IT operations, even for colocation operators. This report covers strategies, software tools and metrics that can help drive up IT efficiency.

Energy-hungry data centers are quietly moving into cities

Read the full story at MIT Technology Review.

Companies are pushing more server farms into the hearts of population centers.

Uptime Institute Data Center Sustainability report series

The Uptime Institute has released a series of reports on data center sustainability. The reports are:

Bitcoin miners want to recast themselves as eco-friendly

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Facing criticism from politicians and environmentalists, the cryptocurrency mining industry has embarked on a rebranding effort to challenge the prevailing view that its electricity-guzzling computers are harmful to the climate. All five of the largest publicly traded crypto mining companies say they are building or already operating plants powered by renewable energy, and industry executives have started arguing that demand from crypto miners will create opportunities for wind and solar companies to open facilities of their own.

Data centers seek to cut their thirst for water

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

CyrusOne competes in the data center industry and has a portfolio of more than 40 enterprise-class facilities across three continents. That’s 4 million square feet in all. It is a voracious water user — to run its facilities powered by the electric grid. But it says that it is cutting that consumption by switching fuel sources and buying more renewable electricity. 

U.S. company devises method to use coal waste to power crypto

Read the full story by Reuters.

The vast amounts of electricity needed to mine bitcoin has ignited a debate about whether the energy behind the operation is worth the potential environmental costs.

But one company in western Pennsylvania believes that they have found a way to put crypto mining to work to clean up their community.

Stronghold Digital Mining SDIG.O uses waste left behind by decades-old coal power plants to generate electricity that powers hundreds of supercomputers working to mine bitcoin.

The staggering ecological impacts of computation and the cloud

Read the full story in Scientific American.

The cloud is not only material but also an ecological force.

A ‘false solution’? How crypto mining became the oil industry’s new hope

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Climate experts warn that plans to repurpose waste gas is not a solution, but more like placing a Band-Aid over a gaping wound.