Computer Cloud Illusions

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on March 31, 2010

Looks like Greenpeace finally got off their greenhouse gas kick and has realized that clouds have as much to do with how climate changes as anything else.

Wait — check that. They say cloud computing is leading us down the path towards catastrophic global warming:

In a study issued Tuesday, environmental organization Greenpeace said the computing “cloud” powering the Internet is becoming a major source of pollution, as companies build data centers powered by coal, according to a Reuters report from Monday.

The study (PDF) singles out a Facebook facility that relies on a coal-powered utility, along with Apple’s North Carolina data center, also powered by coal.

According to Reuters, in the report Greenpeace concludes that “the last thing we need is for more cloud infrastructure to be built in places where it increases demand for dirty coal-fired power.”

The organization also points to Microsoft, Yahoo and Google as having data centers that rely on “heavy” use of coal power.

That’s right, another polluter demon has been unleashed from the pit of corporate hell: Big Internet.

Don Vandervelde April 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm

As a young research chemist in the 50s, when ionizing radiation was still a cool subject, for fun, I constructed a cosmic radiation detecting cloud chamber by supercooling alcohol vapor in a jar with dry ice. Sure enuf, my radium-glowing watch radiation then produced visible cloud streak tracks of condensed alcohol. Little did I know it modeled the effect of the sun's activity on earth's climate. The activity of the sun shields the earth from cooling cloud-producing cosmic rays, thus warming our climate, which precisely varies with the sun's activity. The sun is now unusually inactive producing clouds and our current cool weather, which has nothing to do with CO2. Cheers

Jeff Grant April 2, 2010 at 7:50 am

OK, if the sun activity is now at a low ebb, how can the earth average temperature be so high? I am mystified when some scientists are saying we are in a 'cooling' period, while others are saying that the last decade is "the warmest on record". What? I have been following this for a while now, and I truly believe the scientists don't understand the fundamentals of the earth weather system. Go back to square one and start over. This time, please get it right. The answer does not rest with one variable (CO2?), but I am sure is a very complex web of interracting variables, some of which we are not even aware exist.

Kendall April 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm

1998 was one of the warmest years of the century. Since then the temperature has stayed about the same or slightly decreased which means we are in a cooling period but since we started from a high temperature it still results a warm decade.

Rakesh April 27, 2010 at 7:54 am

You can thank cloud computing for this blog denouncing cloud computing.

Landon April 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I find the internet thing a bit funny, but I believe that a few of you may be forgetting that climate change is in geological time, it's not going to happen instantly.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: