"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Westerners Urged To Reduce Carbon Footprint As Streaming Video Demand Drives Up Global CO2 Emissions

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2017 at 7:55 pm
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A major reduction in air travel is a key starting point for cutting emissions. Image: Kirstin Andrus via Flickr

Oldspeak: “As billionaires arrive in Davos on private jets to “solve” inequality while starving children eat ashes in Madacascar, last week, the doomsday clock was moved forward 30 seconds to 2 and a half minutes to midnight. No matter. The Orwellian irony is is those same billionaires schmoosing in Davos, with gargantuan carbon footprints pontificating about reducing inequality, derive their privileged positions in large part by sitting atop a world-threatening carbon economy while complicit media tout their omnicidal madness as good for the world:

The fact is that we live in a world that has been profoundly shaped by empire and its disparities. Differentials of power between and within nations are probably greater today than they have ever been. These differentials are, in turn, closely related to carbon emissions. The distribution of power in the world therefore lies at the core of the climate crisis

From the point of view of a security establishment that is oriented towards the maintenance of global dominance, this is precisely the scenario that is most greatly to be feared; from this perspective the continuance of the status quo is the most desirable of outcomes.” –Amitav Ghosh, “The Great Derangement”

Now, why would anyone in their right minds believe that those who derive the most privilege, power and profit from the current set of living arrangements who are tasked with changing them, to make them more equitable and just for all beings, would actually do it?!?!  Why would anyone, awash in a world of screens full of delightful entertainment, food, transportation, clothing,  etc etc etc at their fingertips at all times voluntarily forgo that potent Soma? Never mind that scientists say global carbon emissions could be cut by a third within a year if well-off westerners changed their lifestyle.  It’s not happening. 1 worlders will March, scream and shout till our vocal cords and feet bleed, but we will continue to be complicit in our own demise for the sake of convenience and comfort. It it when one confronts these harsh realities it becomes all too clear, that our fate is sealed. As long present living arrangements persist, as long as there is belief that there are market based “solutions” to climate change, to inequality and the whole constellation of effects of Industrial Civilization, the business as usual scenario will continue to play out and accelerate until it can’t no more. We’ll just be fucked a little faster than we would be if we got about the business of changing status quo.” – OSJ

Written By Terry Macalister @ Climate News Network:

Global carbon emissions could be cut by one-third within 12 months if affluent westerners changed their way of life, claims a leading climate change scientist.

Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University, in the UK, says a major reduction in personal air travel is a key starting point.

More than half of the carbon dioxide pollution that causes a large part of global warming comes from the 10% best-off people on the planet, he argues.

Carbon footprint

“Let’s be clear about this. If the top 10 high emitters – people like you and me and others – if we reduce our carbon footprint just to the level of the average European, it would be a one-third cut in global emissions.

“I genuinely think we could achieve it in one year, but we would have to think that climate change is a very serious issue, and that has big political implications.”

Anderson, who already avoids flying when he can, made his comments in the run-up to a talk he will give on 9 March at Cambridge University in the UK.

“We need to make sure that we are not
living in larger houses and have many
houses, and drive larger cars”

This is part of the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series, a new town-and-gown initiative, shared between the university and the city and designed to rekindle debate on global warming.

Anderson is convinced that wealthy westerners must act decisively and radically to change their lifestyles.

“Those of us who are high emitters …. need to rapidly curtail how often we fly. We should not be flying on any occasion business class or first class because that has far higher emissions. We need to find alternatives to flying.

“But in addition we need to make sure that we are not living in larger houses and have many houses, and drive larger cars.

“Our high incomes allow us to have status in society and typically have larger carbon footprints. It is a real challenge for us in that position, because we have to significantly change our lives in the short term and find other ways of seeing value for hard work.”

UK commitment

Anderson plans to use his talk to explain what kind of personal, societal and corporate changes need to be made in Britain to meet the UK government’s commitment under the Paris climate change agreement.

He said during the Paris negotiations that he thought there was only a slim chance – less than 10% – that the world could manage to stop temperatures rising by more than 1.5°C over their pre-industrial level. This week the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed that they are already about 1.1°C higher than before the Industrial Revolution.

The Manchester academic will argue for steps to be taken to allow for a rapid reduction in energy demand alongside a ramping up of low-carbon power generation.

Other speakers in the series include Baroness Bryony Worthington, an architect of the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act and founder of Sandbag, and Anthony Hobley, chief executive of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a not-for-profit financial thinktank.

The meetings will be chaired by Emily Shuckburgh, deputy head of polar oceans at the British Antarctic Survey and the co-author of a forthcoming book, Climate Change. – Climate News Network

 

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Facebook’s Prineville data centre in Oregon: Demand just goes on growing. Image: Tom Raftery (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons

Video Demand Drives Up Global CO2 Emissions

Written By Richard Sadler @ Climate News Network:

Sitting back and watching your favourite streamed TV series may seem harmless enough – but video demand is leaving a hefty carbon footprint.

LONDON, 31 January, 2017 – The internet is fast becoming a major source of global carbon emissions – and the main cause is video demand, the increasing popularity of “real time” streamed video content.

Video streaming to internet-enabled TVs, game consoles and mobile devices already accounts for more than 60% of all data traffic – and the latest forecasts suggest this will rise to more than 80% by 2020.

Increasingly, viewers across the world are watching films and TV series in real time through subscriptions to Netflix or Amazon, while social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are offering more and more streamed video content for free.

This is driving a dizzying increase in the amount of information that needs to be stored and transmitted by power-hungry data centres.  Up until 2003 the world had accumulated a total of five exabytes – five billion gigabytes –  of stored digital content. By 2015 that amount was being consumed every two days, as annual consumption reached 870 exabytes.

As more video is streamed and more of the world’s population goes online, annual data traffic is forecast to reach 2,300 exabytes by 2019

Pressure for renewables

The IT sector already consumes around 7% of electricity worldwide, and as data traffic rises, demand from data centres alone could reach 13% of global electricity consumption by 2030. 

Now leading video content providers are coming under increasing pressure to show what proportion of their power derives from fossil fuels.

A recent report by Greenpeace USA acknowledges that social media platform Facebook has made significant progress towards its target for 100% of its electricity to come from renewables, following support from millions of its users for Greenpeace’s  2011 “Unfriend coal” campaign. Google and Apple receive praise for progress towards similar commitments made in 2012.

However, major providers of video streaming content including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu are criticised for sourcing more than half of their energy from coal or natural gas.

“The dramatic increase in the number of data centres … dominated by utilities that have little to no renewable energy is driving a similarly dramatic increase in the consumption of coal and natural gas”

Cloud computing market leader Amazon Web Services is credited for taking important steps towards renewables but censured for lack of transparency and heavy reliance on new data centres in the state of Virginia powered mainly by fossil fuels.

Elsewhere the lack of access to renewable energy from monopoly utilities in East Asia is seen as a major obstacle towards creating a renewably-powered internet in the region. 

The report concludes: “The dramatic increase in the number of data centres … dominated by utilities that have little to no renewable energy is driving a similarly dramatic increase in the consumption of coal and natural gas.”

Attempting to express the effect of increasing internet traffic in terms of emissions is fraught with difficulty, but one study, published in the journal Environmental Research Lettershas calculated that in 2011 Americans streamed 3.2 billion hours of video.

This would have consumed 25 petajoules of energy (estimated at about the annual consumption of 175,000 US households), resulting in 1.3 billion kilograms of CO2 emissions.

Efficiency limits

The lead author, Arman Shehabi, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said the IT sector had so far managed to offset its soaring electricity needs by designing more energy-efficient data centres. But there was a limit to how far energy efficiency could go.

“The growth in video streaming is enormous just based on the size of the companies that are providing these services – but they are still reaching only a small part of the global population and we can imagine that’s going to just keep increasing,” he said.

“You’re still going to have this growth of more and more servers needed. We’ve seen some good efficiency measures but we’re getting close to the end of that – we can’t go out much further – and with video streaming there’s no end in sight.”

He added that another major driver of future growth in data traffic would be the Internet of Things –  remote digital sensors, devices and driverless cars connected to the internet. – Climate News Network

 

 

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