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2023-11-08 22:39:16.016906+01 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

arXiv: Computer Science > Computers and Society: Frugal Computing — On the need for low-carbon and sustainable computing and the path towards zero-carbon computing Wim Vanderbauwhede

The current emissions from computing are almost 4% of the world total. This is already more than emissions from the airline industry and are projected to rise steeply over the next two decades. By 2040 emissions from computing alone will account for more than half of the emissions budget to keep global warming below 1.5∘C. Consequently, this growth in computing emissions is unsustainable. The emissions from production of computing devices exceed the emissions from operating them, so even if devices are more energy efficient producing more of them will make the emissions problem worse. Therefore we must extend the useful life of our computing devices. As a society we need to start treating computational resources as finite and precious, to be utilised only when necessary, and as effectively as possible. We need frugal computing: achieving our aims with less energy and material.

This does speak to how we weirdly price energy... and where we're using that energy. The paper itself notes that:

The report about the cost of planned obsolescence by the European Environmental Bureau [8] makes the scale of the problem very clear. For laptops and similar computers, manufacturing, distribution and disposal account for 52% of their Global WarmingPotential (i.e. the amount of CO2-equivalent emissions caused). For mobile phones, this is 72%. The report calculates that the lifetime of these devices should be at least 25 years to limit their Global Warming Potential. Currently, for laptops it is about 5 years and for mobile phones 3 years.

This makes me wonder about compute capacity, Jevon's paradox issues, and even at 72%, efficiency gains seem to make those 25 years calculations ... something.

[ related topics: Language Interactive Drama Books Aviation Theater & Plays Work, productivity and environment Archival Model Building Global Warming ]

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