Sustainable IT newsletter #2

Since I had a few more news and articles, I'm sharing them with you this week. Given the pace of publication on this topic, I don't think I'll be doing a newsletter every week. I'm leaning towards one every 2 or 3 weeks.

Proposal of a new HTTP response header with CO2-eqπŸ”—

An IETF draft for a new HTTP response header with CO2-eq was submitted in early April. The amount of CO2-eq in grams will only correspond to the electricity consumed (GHG scope 2). The goal is to allow the client of the service to account for their Scope 3 carbon emissions, i.e. those emitted upstream and downstream.

It's true that today it's difficult to estimate the Scope 3 of your service, because in most cases there is no data available from the third party service that you could use, and there are a lot of software that rely on such external service.

While the idea is interesting, there are some concerns discussed , such as its trustworthiness, accuracy, or quantity adequacy. I'm curious to see the final decision and the end result (if any).

Right to install any software on any deviceπŸ”—

In the previous newsletter we mentioned the current European proposal for a right to repair. In my search for additional information, I've come across an interesting viewpoint published about a year ago by the Free Software Foundation Europe and supported by 34 organizations. They advocate unlocking all devices so that consumers would have the right to install any software, choose any service provider, or interact with any other device of their choice. This would also mean that the manufacturer would have to provide access to drivers, tools, and other interfaces.

I like this idea very much as it will allow to fight against software obsolescence. For example, old Android devices aren't supported anymore. That doesn't mean we can't use them. I was able to revive an old Motorola Moto G from 2014 thanks to the /e/OS, a degoogled and lightweight fork of Android.

Among the 34 signess there are /e/ Foundation, the European Right to Repair Campaign, Fairphone, iFixit or Nextcloud.

Carbon footprint of data centersπŸ”—

Just because data centers are seconds to the terminal in terms of environmental impact does not mean that their impact is not significant. As for terminals, it's difficult to do an accurate accounting. A common reason for this is the confidentiality practices of companies, the so-called trade secrets. If they can talk about their power consumption and their power usage effectiveness (PUE), they usually don't disclose the number of servers and how often they are replaced or repaired.

A recent blog does a good job of summarizing some of the issues to consider when addressing the carbon footprint of a data center: "What is the carbon footprint of data centers?" The article is a takeaway of a presentation by a French researcher on the subject, A-C Orgerie.

If you want to find information about a data center, you can find some in the Green Hosting directory. They explain how they rate the hoster. Not all listed datacenters have provided proof of their claim. But you can still find interesting information like the PUE.

Predicting the evolutionf of the environment impact of the digital in FranceπŸ”—

On March 6, ARCEP, a French regulatory authority, published its study on the evolution of the digital environmental impact until 2030 and 2050. Among the conclusions, they predict a 45% increase in the digital footprint in France by 2030 if nothing is done. By 2050, it could at least triple. They study several scenarios, including one of sufficiency and minimization, allowing to significantly reduce the impact.

I'm still looking for similar studies done for other countries and parts of the world. If you know of any, please share them with me.

Third-party service best practicesπŸ”—

In the blog post "Best Practice: Limit the Number of Third-Party Services," they develop an ecodesign best practice supported by several guidelines. They illustrate the improvement with a real-world example: removing the Twitter feed from every page of a website. They estimate a 40% reduction in carbon footprint.

If you have any comment, question, or feedback, please share them with me.

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