** The Climate Change Thread **

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Psamathe
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Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby Psamathe » 3 Sep 2019, 12:07pm

(A bit like the Brexit single thread I wondered about a single Climate Change Thread as there are many stories that individually don't justify individual threads but are interesting and informative - so into a single thread ?)
I was shocked listening to a podcast today from The Naked Scientists which discussed use of electricity by IT and the internet. Some facts I found surprising:

● The Internet now causes release of more Greenhouse Gasses that the entire worldwide airline industry.

● 9%-10% of world electricity demand is from IT (manufacture, use, data transmission etc.)

● 7% of all data traffic is from video streaming services (Netflix, etc.)

● Power consumer and where it's consumed varies massively according to device e.g. streaming a video to a phone and only 5% of the energy use is used by the phone

● Do the math and 3% of all electricity demand is from video streaming

And video streaming is growing fast.

The podcast was from The Naked Scientists, episode "The Power of Vaccines" and the bit about energy and the internet starts 17:00 mins into the episode https://play.acast.com/s/naked_scientists_podcast/the-power-of-vaccines.

Ian

pwa
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Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby pwa » 3 Sep 2019, 12:12pm

It could be argued that using the internet, including video streaming, takes individuals away from other damaging activities such as getting in the car to go to a cinema.

Mike Sales
Posts: 3541
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby Mike Sales » 3 Sep 2019, 12:16pm

Psamathe wrote:(A bit like the Brexit single thread I wondered about a single Climate Change Thread as there are many stories that individually don't justify individual threads but are interesting and informative - so into a single thread ?)
I was shocked listening to a podcast today from The Naked Scientists which discussed use of electricity by IT and the internet. Some facts I found surprising:

● The Internet now causes release of more Greenhouse Gasses that the entire worldwide airline industry.

● 9%-10% of world electricity demand is from IT (manufacture, use, data transmission etc.)

● 7% of all data traffic is from video streaming services (Netflix, etc.)

● Power consumer and where it's consumed varies massively according to device e.g. streaming a video to a phone and only 5% of the energy use is used by the phone

● Do the math and 3% of all electricity demand is from video streaming

And video streaming is growing fast.

The podcast was from The Naked Scientists, episode "The Power of Vaccines" and the bit about energy and the internet starts 17:00 mins into the episode https://play.acast.com/s/naked_scientists_podcast/the-power-of-vaccines.

Ian


All that can be said in mitigation is that it is easier to convert electricity generation to renewables than some other CO2 sources, aeroplanes for instance.

Psamathe
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Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby Psamathe » 3 Sep 2019, 12:42pm

pwa wrote:It could be argued that using the internet, including video streaming, takes individuals away from other damaging activities such as getting in the car to go to a cinema.

I'm unsure to what extent that cinema visits would offset things. One part of the bit of the podcast discusses research into how people were using video streaming. They put logging systems on routers then interviewed the consumers (who were being logged). In my opinion the nature of this research makes it limited (small numbers, a lot of household variability) but they suggested a fair amount of video streaming is "not meaningful" i.e. casual and just background. They found that a portion of video streaming is different streams to different people in the same room and that a portion of streamed content is just a distraction/trivial (according to the consumers' own accounts). They also found that auto-play can encourage people to watch more than they otherwise would just because it happens and they don't think so watching an episode becomes watching 2 episodes. As I say, not a massive research project that establishes a lot but maybe an indication.

I'm probably very out of date but for me the cinema was more of an outing where they are showing a film you want to see whereas TV (and thus a lot of streaming) is probably more because there is not much else to do or watching content that would never be in cinemas (the "Box Set" thing that seems to be advertised a lot)?

Ian

mattheus
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Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby mattheus » 3 Sep 2019, 12:59pm

Psamathe wrote:(
● The Internet now causes release of more Greenhouse Gasses that the entire worldwide airline industry.

● 9%-10% of world electricity demand is from IT (manufacture, use, data transmission etc.)


It's something to think about, isn't it??

I read an interesting idea recently: The Fridge in your Pocket.

The point being that because of all those server farms, your mobile phone is responsible for as much power consumption as a domestic fridge :O

I think it's easy to think of small light devices as having low impact - often this is completely wrong!

Stradageek
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Joined: 17 Jan 2011, 1:07pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby Stradageek » 3 Sep 2019, 1:35pm

Makes sense, I used to work in a company that supplied components to data centres.

Because of their enormous energy demands, most data centres are located in northern climes (to minimise cooling requirements) and close to cheap electricity. Therefore, Canadian border (hydroelectricity), Iceland (geothermal electricity), Nordic countries (hyrdoelectricity).

Sounds a little 'greener' than air travel, however the data centres are rebuilt/upgraded every couple of years to keep up with data demand, all the old (lower data rate) components just go in the bin.

Why not stop the upgrades by restricting video streaming unless it's used for live video meetings/calls that replace air travel?

kwackers
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Location: Warrington

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby kwackers » 3 Sep 2019, 2:04pm

Stradageek wrote:Why not stop the upgrades by restricting video streaming unless it's used for live video meetings/calls that replace air travel?

The energy costs of streaming per individual aren't that high. There's just a lot of individuals.

You've also got to consider what the individuals will do if they aren't streaming.
They might go out for a drive, go to the cinema, go out for a meal, perhaps even waste energy cycling around the countryside.
Given the low individual cost of streaming it wouldn't take much to beat it by doing something else.

Nothing is ever simple.

Another thing I learned recently:
For all the fuss we make about food miles, the energy cost is only around 2% of the total. Most of the energy consumed in the creation of food is when it's cooked.
And then there's the issue of growing unsuitable foods. Energy costs of Spanish tomatoes for example is a lot less then UK tomatoes mainly because they don't need heated greenhouses.

roubaixtuesday
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Joined: 18 Aug 2015, 7:05pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby roubaixtuesday » 3 Sep 2019, 2:21pm

Greenhouse gas emissions:

Big four are essentially energy/heating, transport, agriculture. From IPCC

Image

And as explored above...

Different foodstuffs from Science. Beef is worst, veggies are best.

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/ ... 7.full.pdf

Of the internet from Nature:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06610-y

PDQ Mobile
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Joined: 2 Aug 2015, 4:40pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby PDQ Mobile » 3 Sep 2019, 3:19pm

Any electric equipment that produces solely heat is a waste in my view.
Electicity is best used for mechanical work or control systems.
To compare a phone or smart phone with say an immersion heater is not straight thinking.
Look at all the appliances in most kichens, decide which you don't need, chuck it out and take a bigger step towards saving the planet than not watching any video streaming.
And then there's that 4foot screen in the living room!!
All IMHO.

Mike Sales
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Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby Mike Sales » 3 Sep 2019, 3:22pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:Any electric equipment that produces solely heat is a waste in my view.


An electric heater, running on an increasing proportion of renewable electricity, should be replaced by what, in your view?

roubaixtuesday
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Joined: 18 Aug 2015, 7:05pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby roubaixtuesday » 3 Sep 2019, 3:34pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:Any electric equipment that produces solely heat is a waste in my view.


All future low carbon plans involve heating and transport being electrified, to enable use of renewable sources of power.

Heating would be via heat pumps rather than resistive heating, which allows maybe a 2-3 fold efficiency improvement.

PDQ Mobile
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Joined: 2 Aug 2015, 4:40pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby PDQ Mobile » 3 Sep 2019, 3:35pm

Mike Sales wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:Any electric equipment that produces solely heat is a waste in my view.


An electric heater, running on an increasing proportion of renewable electricity, should be replaced by what, in your view?


The thread is about climate change?
And still much leccy is basically fossil fuel, with transmission and other wastages.

Running on renewables the effect on climate is much less.
But not zero.
It is difficult to see a way around using some leccy for heat generation, although it remains relatively inefficient.
The nuclear option? I am not avocating it.

There are of course some other ways of generating heat- earth source for example that provide a better return for less power.
Waste industrial heat schemes also work.

And wood! Good old wood! Best not start.

kwackers
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Location: Warrington

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby kwackers » 3 Sep 2019, 3:37pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:Look at all the appliances in most kichens, decide which you don't need, chuck it out and take a bigger step towards saving the planet than not watching any video streaming.

Induction hob, small IR oven (you can always fall back to the big oven if something doesn't fit).

PDQ Mobile
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Joined: 2 Aug 2015, 4:40pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby PDQ Mobile » 3 Sep 2019, 3:37pm

roubaixtuesday wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:Any electric equipment that produces solely heat is a waste in my view.


All future low carbon plans involve heating and transport being electrified, to enable use of renewable sources of power.

Heating would be via heat pumps rather than resistive heating, which allows maybe a 2-3 fold efficiency improvement.

Yes yes yes.
Especially rail transport.

PDQ Mobile
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Joined: 2 Aug 2015, 4:40pm

Re: ** The Climate Change Thread **

Postby PDQ Mobile » 3 Sep 2019, 3:40pm

kwackers wrote:Induction hob, small IR oven (you can always fall back to the big oven if something doesn't fit).

Something from a maternity ward? :shock: