Climate change is approaching us fast and it is up to us to make sure that we reduce the use of fossil fuels, and care about the carbon footprint that we are leaving. So far, it has been easy for us to understand where the carbon footprint is expanding; for instance, the manufacturing, vehicles, as well as cattle are some of the more apparent forces that are behind the climate change.
However, when it comes to finding the elements that are not so apparent, there is no proper way of telling just how much energy is being used, and where the energy is being used the most.
There are a few aspects; for starters, turning on the lights, being connected to the internet, and using cloud services are just some of the aspects in which it is not easy to tell where the energy is being used, what the type of energy is, and what the impact of this energy on environment is.
For those who do not know, Google is known for buying renewable energy for which unit of electricity that their cloud services use. Which basically means that for each unit of electricity, Google is buying a unit of renewable energy; this is to reduce their overall carbon footprint. Not just Google, but Microsoft is also invested in using the sustainable energy, and is responsible for producing total 1.2 gigawatts of renewable energy across 3 continents. Lastly, AWS (Amazon Web Services) also offsets its use of energy to promote sustainability.
According to a research, the Information and Communication Technologies sector is responsible for producing up to 2 percent of the global carbon dioxide emission. Which means that the sector is on par with the aviation sector. It is speculated that data centers have the biggest carbon footprint in the ICT sector, mainly because of the ever so increasing internet based services, as well as cloud computing.
Carbon offsetting and tradeoff are certainly smart ideas that pave a way for the data centers and cloud services to become sustainable in the near future. However, moving to renewable energy one day is something that will become a necessity in near future.
Paul Johnston, the cofounder of ServerLessDays, who also happens to be a green data supporter has created a new Google Chrome Extension that is called Cloud Sustainability Console. The extension itself is an important tool for people who want to keep a track of sustainability along with the AWS.
According to Johnstone, no cloud provider is giving the stats to carbon footprint. Google and Azure are actually completely offset when to the carbon footprint. Which basically means that while they do emit the carbon footprint, it also means that they work on removing it some other way. However, with AWS, things are a bit different.
The extension works in a rather simple way as it lets you see the AWS regions that are completely sustainable as well as the ones that are not.
Amazon Web Services has a number of regions as well as zones in which it is available; only five regions are completely sustainable. However, this information is not properly available. The public sustainable regions are shaded in green, and you also have a link to the AWS sustainability page. At the time of writing, the regions are Ireland, Central Canada, Oregon, and Frankfurt.
Additionally, you also have links to Cloud Sustainability white paper that is written by Johnston as well as Anne Currie who is an editor of Microscaling Systems. You also have a link to the Sustainable Servers by 2024 petition.
While Amazon Web Services have said that that they will be using 100 percent renewable energy for the entirety of its infrastructure in the future, however, for now, this extension serves as a great way for them to have a look at their carbon footprint in the areas where their services are used.