This report from Greenpeace looks at how the rise of cloud computing will lead to a tripling of the IT industry's overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and suggests policy changes that IT companies should work for in addition to energy efficiency.
From the report's introduction:
The announcement of Apple's iPad has been much anticipated by a world with an ever-increasing appetite for mobile computing devices as a way to connect, interact, learn and work. As rumours circulated – first about its existence and then about its capabilities -- the iPad received more media attention than any other gadget in recent memory. Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs finally showcased his company's latest creation before a rapt audience in San Francisco. From their smart phones and netbooks, the crowd feverishly blogged and tweeted real time updates out to a curious world.
Whether you actually want an iPad or not, there is no doubt that it is a harbinger of things to come. The iPad relies upon cloud-based computing to stream video, download music and books, and fetch email. Already, millions access the 'cloud' to make use of online social networks, watch streaming video, check email and create documents, and store thousands of digital photos online on popular web-hosted sites like Flickr and Picasa.
The term cloud, or cloud computing, used as a metaphor for the internet, is based on an infrastructure and business model whereby -- rather than being stored on your own device -- data, entertainment, news and other products and services are delivered to your device, in real time, from the internet. The creation of the cloud has been a boon both to the companies hosting it and to consumers who now need nothing but a personal computer and internet access to fulfill most of their computing needs.
More details about the campaign are online at greenpeace.org/coolit.