The latest Greenpeace report has raised the possibility that cloud computing could lead to an increase in green house gas emissions through the increased use of data centres.
Greenpeace has release a report which raises the possibility that data centres will in the next few years become a large source of pollution, accelerating the release of gases into the atmosphere.
This fear is based on the increased use of cloud computing in numerous fields (electronic gadgets, social networks, video streaming) which could produce a lot more greenhouse gases than previous estimations thought.
The report underlines that at the current rate, data and telecommunication centres will use 1963 billion kilowatt hours of electricity by 2020, a number three times greater than today. This energy will have to come from one source or another, be it coal fired power stations of renewable energy.
Are pollution levels higher than estimated still to come? Greenpeace is therefore calling on large companies (Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, Facebook...) to implement data centres according to the needs of cloud computing, while also pushing for the use of green energy to try and better control their carbon footprint.
The report attacks the Apple iPad as an emblem of this new tendency, although not stating that Apple necessarily pollutes more than others, but rather because they are emblematic of the new uses made possible by cloud computing and its diverse uses.
They also pointed out, as an example of poor decision making, Facebook’s recent decision to use a coal fired power station to run their data centre in Prineville, Oregon (USA) while the group could have instead turned towards renewable energy sources to set a good example.