Carbon Aware Computing: Next Green Breakthrough or New Greenwashing?by@ismaelvelasco
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Carbon Aware Computing: Next Green Breakthrough or New Greenwashing?

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- Running compute jobs at a time and place when the electricity grid energy mix happens to be greener is not enough to reduce computing emissions. - To reduce their emissions, compute jobs need to run when demand is low; target stable electricity grids; and verifiably use curtailed electricity or run on genuinely additive renewable electricity. - The environmental challenge of computing is not energy efficiency, but energy demand. Because renewable energy can only power less than 13% of global energy demand, if our compute's energy demand grows in a year, even 100% effective carbon aware computing on the electricity grid will mean a net increase in our emissions. - Achieving carbon reductions of particular computing jobs is pointless if it does not reduce the net electricity demand of our overall compute. - True carbon-aware computing should ask not just how green is our use of the electricity grid for any given job at any given time, but how far is our compute actually reducing its net emissions, and how responsible is our use of the electricity grid as a whole. - For now we’re calling this more mature, holistic and nuanced approach ‘grid-aware computing’.

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@ismaelvelasco

Ismael Velasco

Founder, Adora Foundation. Software engineer. Community builder. Social entrepreneur.


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