I wrote an article about the need for low-carbon and and the path towards zero-carbon computing.


** The problem:
* By 2040 emissions from computing alone will be close to half the emissions level acceptable to keep global warming below 2°C. This growth in computing emissions is unsustainable: it would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions warming limit.
* The emissions from production of computing devices far 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.
** The solution:
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 the same results for less energy.
** The vision: please read the article, I'm out of characters.

@wim_v12e I like your broad view on !

I have been reading sustainability reports of some hosting providers and mostly they talk only about efficiency (= less idling servers, newer servers, and less cooling)... but contains also consistency (which servers do I buy, which energy do I consume, which buildings do I have) and sufficiency ("less is more"/use only when necessary)

Though, the reports I liked the most:
- (it's German only; they explicitly say that they run their hardware as long as possible and if they buy new hardware, then based on sustainability aspects, too)
- (I believe their message, but they are small...)
see also
(maybe you have some other good examples)

But here again hosting providers are just the tip of the iceberg and relying on other resources like network, buildings, hardware vendors, cooling...

@greenfediverse FYI

@aligyie @wim_v12e @greenfediverse Buying new hardware as rarely as possible can be very bad for energy efficiency. Updating a rack of 2010 servers to 2020 ones can easily cut the power consumption in half while increasing the computing power at the same time.

@dmbaturin @aligyie @wim_v12e @greenfediverse Buying new hardware is not better : most of the energy consummed by IT stuff comes from its production, not its use. So using your hardware the longest is better for the planet.


@wim_v12e I'm not a fan of replacing computers every 2 years and I like the idea of aiming to increase computers' lifespan, but the part about eventually stopping to produce new computers sounds pretty dangerous.
If we stop making computers, we will soon forget how to make them. The only people capable of doing it will die, the infrastructure will fall apart or get sold for scrap. We will end up relying on a technology nobody understands. That's very fragile IMO.

@wolf480pl That is a very interesting point. It is not quite as dramatic as that though. With my assumptions it would take several centuries to get there. And I am not saying that we should not make computers anymore, only that when you've made one it could be expected to last forever. Of course there will still be devices that fail an can't be repaired
And I don't quite agree that not making something means the knowledge will be forgotten. The fact that we need to be able to repair them means we need to know how they work.