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Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?
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Green ICT: More Efficiently Unsustainable?

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My slides for the Digital 2020 GreenICT mini-conference: http://www.digital2020.org.uk/skills/events/green …

My slides for the Digital 2020 GreenICT mini-conference: http://www.digital2020.org.uk/skills/events/green

There are quite extensive notes which can be read from slide 21 onwards.

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  • A green world is what we want, help keep the planet, helping us to our future generations, our families can live in a healthy planet.
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    Ayúdame agregando esta presentación a FAVORITOS, desde ya muchas gracias!!
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  • 1. 'Green ICT': More efficiently unsustainable? Joss Winn Centre for Educational Research and Development University of Lincoln jwinn@lincoln.ac.uk January 2010
  • 2. The Jevons Paradox Technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource… In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource – which increases demand and speeds economic growth, further increasing demand. Overall resource use increases or decreases depending on which effect predominates… The Jevons Paradox only applies to technological improvements that increase fuel efficiency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox
  • 3. What 'energy efficiency' looks like...
  • 4. Economic growth is not absolutely decoupled from emissions Relative decoupling: The UK reported a 15% decrease in emissions from 1990- 2005. Absolute decoupling? In fact, UK emissions increased by 19% during 1990- 2003 when emissions from aviation, overseas trade, shipping and tourism were accounted for. “The UK’s environmental impact is as significant from the resources exploited to produce its imports as from the domestic resources it consumes. It mandates counting emissions on a consumption basis.” Too Good to be True? The UK's Climate Change Record http://www.dieterhelm.co.uk/node/656
  • 5. Technological efficiencies, increased energy consumption and increased GDP, are all linked
  • 6. In a business-as-usual scenario, global energy demand is forecast to rise by 40% by 2030. Fossil fuels account for over 75% of supply.
  • 7. What about renewables? Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROIE)
  • 8. Common features of the plans The five plans David MacKay's Five Plans for providing renewable energy for the UK by 2050. They all assume significant energy efficiencies, as seen in the left image.
  • 9. Peak Oil Hubbert's Curve The dotted line is actual production. Notice how the energy crisis in the 1970s 'corrected' the trend.
  • 10. Global oil production has plateaued since 2005 and has started to drop. Has Peak Oil arrived? Will we see $175/barrel oil in 2012? Oil hit an all-time high of $147/barrel in July 2008, two months prior to the financial crash.
  • 11. “The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking.” The ‘Hirsch Report’: Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management. We need 10-20 years of intense global effort to move away from oil without unprecedented economic, social and political costs. If oil did peak in 2005, we've left it too late... ...but an unprecedented shift to zero carbon fuels, assumes the use of energy intense fuels such as oil, to get us there. We can't build nuclear power stations on wind and solar power.
  • 12. 83
  • 13. Our economic model of growth, the paradox of efficiencies, the reality of EROEI and the time we have to act, does not lead us to 'sustainability'. A more useful, honest way of understanding and addressing our predicament is in terms of 'resilience'.
  • 14. “Resilience is the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganise while undergoing change, so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks.”
  • 15. Q: “Why be Green?” A: “Resilience” (but let's not kid ourselves)
  • 16. Energy depletion and climate change will impose a different economic model. We can wait for it to happen... Source: http://managingwithoutgrowth.com
  • 17. ...or we can plan for a more resilient economy and work towards it. We need to redefine terms like 'Prosperity', 'Sustainability', 'Business Continuity' Source: http://managingwithoutgrowth.com
  • 18. What would change? ● New meanings and measures of success ● Limits on materials, energy, wastes and land use? ● More meaningful prices ● More durable, reparable goods ● Fewer status goods ● More informative advertising ● Better screening of technology ● More efficient capital stock ● More local, less global ● Reduced inequality ● Less work, more leisure ● Education for life, not just work Source: http://managingwithoutgrowth.com See also: Steady State Economy FAQ http://www.steadystate.org/CASSEFAQs.html
  • 19. Resilience, it seems to me, is a pre-requisite for sustainability if you accept the tangible and coupled threats of energy security and climate change enforcing long-term zero or negative growth. If oil production has peaked just prior to the worst economic crisis in living memory and faced with the need to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% in the next forty years, should we not first develop a more resilient model that we wish to sustain? In terms of energy use, can efficiencies alone lead to sustainability? No. Can renewables supply the ever increasing global demand for energy? No. At what point does ‘efficiency’ actually mean conservation, rationing and frugality? At what point do we change our habits, our ambitions and our institutions instead of telling ourselves that we are being efficient, as we do today? GreenICT, if it exists, may be thought of as ICT which contributes towards a zero growth or Steady State economy.
  • 20. 'Green ICT': More efficiently unsustainable? Joss Winn Centre for Educational Research and Development University of Lincoln jwinn@lincoln.ac.uk January 2010 1 This is a presentation for the 'Green IT Mini Conference' in Leeds, January 2010. I think I was invited to join the conference because I have recently started writing about the wider implications of what we mean by 'sustainability', focusing largely on the role of energy in our lives. Increasingly, my main area of interest is the potential for a systemic collapse of Higher Education due, in part, to its institutional and pedagogical dependence on technology. I think there is a pressing need to build resilience into the future provision of Higher Education and that is likely to require radical changes at both the micro and macro levels. The phrase, 'more efficiently unsustainable', is borrowed from Bill Rees: http://joss.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2009/11/16/bill-rees-the-vulnerability- and-resilience-of-cities/
  • 21. The Jevons Paradox Technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource… In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource – which increases demand and speeds economic growth, further increasing demand. Overall resource use increases or decreases depending on which effect predominates… The Jevons Paradox only applies to technological improvements that increase fuel efficiency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox 2 Theoretically, a way to manipulate or curb the Jevons Paradox is through taxation. As the real cost of things gets cheaper, add more tax to maintain the price. i.e. a 'Green Tax' “"Efficiency first" sounds good, especially when referred to as "win-win" strategies or more picturesquely as "picking the low-hanging fruit". But the problem of "efficiency first" is with what comes second. An improvement in efficiency by itself is equivalent to having a larger supply of the factor whose efficiency increased. The price of that factor will decline. More uses for the now cheaper factor will be found. We will end up consuming more of the resource than before, albeit more efficiently. Scale continues to grow. This is sometimes called the "Jevons effect". A policy of "frugality first", however, induces efficiency as a secondary consequence; "efficiency first" does not induce frugality--it makes frugality less necessary, nor does it give rise to a scarcity rent that can be captured and redistributed.” Economist, Herman Daly: 'The Illth of Nations and the Fecklessness of Policy: An Ecological Economist's Perspective'. http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue22/Daly22.htm
  • 22. What 'energy efficiency' looks like... 3 In terms of overall efficiency, rather than focusing on the use of electricity to power ICT in the UK, it is more useful to look at regional or global energy use. The embodied energy of ICT needs to be accounted for and understood as part of a global economic energy system. A 2008 paper (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V2W-4PYR4NP- 1/2/03c633d91324a9a96040ff02e9e34864) estimated that UK Higher Education Institutions spent around £300m on energy in 2006, an increase of 0.5% since 2001 and representing 1.6% of total income. This review reveals that the energy consumption levels in UK HEIs increased by about 2.7% over the 6-year period between 2001 and 2006. The building energy-related CO2 emissions are estimated to have increased by approximately 4.3% between 2005 and 2006 alone. These trends run contrary to the national plans for emissions reductions in all sectors and are therefore a cause for action. The Sustainable ICT project estimated (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/documents/sustainableictfinalreport.aspx) that around £60m of the £300m (1/5th) was to power ICT. Since 2006, energy bills have risen by about 25% so we might expect HEIs annual electricity costs to currently be around £375m, with ICT use around £75m. The increase in the number of students in Higher Education has not resulted in a corresponding increase in energy use; closer correlations can be found between floor space and energy use and, interestingly, between research activity and energy consumption. The more research intensive universities use relatively more energy. (see Sector review of UK higher education energy consumption http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V2W-4SMF2H8- 1/2/e52205eabd2d08b8d21973ccefcae8cd) Annual income of HEIs (http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php/content/view/1404/161/) increased by 10% to £23.4bn between 2007-8 and total expenditure likewise increased by 9%. How would an energy shock of +400% (http://www.uswitch.com/press-room/? downloadfile=HOUSEHOLD-ENERGY-BILLS-TO-HIT-ALMOST-5K-IN-10-YEARS-TIME), increasing sector-wide energy costs from £375m to £1.5bn over the next ten years, be managed when income and spending appear to be so tightly coupled?
  • 23. Economic growth is not absolutely decoupled from emissions Relative decoupling: The UK reported a 15% decrease in emissions from 1990- 2005. Absolute decoupling? In fact, UK emissions increased by 19% during 1990- 2003 when emissions from aviation, overseas trade, shipping and tourism were accounted for. “The UK’s environmental impact is as significant from the resources exploited to produce its imports as from the domestic resources it consumes. It mandates counting emissions on a consumption basis.” Too Good to be True? The UK's Climate Change Record http://www.dieterhelm.co.uk/node/656 4 Half of our emissions occur abroad. For example, as our emissions from production have decreased, China's emissions from production have increased. De-industrialised, service-driven economies become more energy efficient because they import more finished goods rather than raw energy and materials. “50% of the emission growth from 2002 to 2005 was triggered by export production and 60% of these commodities are exported to the West [Weber et al., 2008]. In other words, consumers in developed countries are at least partially responsible for one- third of Chinese emission increase from 2002 to 2005.” Guan, D., Glen Peters, C.L. Weber and K. Hubacek, 2009. Journey to world top emitter – an analysis of the driving forces of China's recent CO2 emissions su . Geophysical Research Letters, 36 (L04709) http://homepages.see.leeds.ac.uk/~leckh/Guan et al. China_02-05_SDA_Draft.pdf One third of China's emissions are from the production of exports. Guan, D., Hubacek, K., Weber, C.L., Peters, G.P. and Reiner, D.M. (2008) The drivers of Chinese CO2 emissions from 1980 to 2030. Global Environmental Change , 18 (4). pp. 626-634. ISSN 0959-3780 http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/5405/ For a study of economic growth and GHG emissions decoupling, see, Wei Ming Huang, Grace W.M. Lee, Chih Cheng Wu, GHG emissions, GDP growth and the Kyoto Protocol: A revisit of Environmental Kuznets Curve hy , Energy Policy, Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 239-247, ISSN 0301-4215, DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2007.08.035. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V2W-4PYR4NP- 1/2/03c633d91324a9a96040ff02e9e34864 For an excellent discussion of 'The Myth of Decoupling', see Prosperity Without Growth – The Transition to a Sustainable Economy from the Sustainable Development Commission, ‘The Government’s independent watchdog on sustainable development' http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=914
  • 24. Technological efficiencies, increased energy consumption and increased GDP, are all linked 5 Image source: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5969
  • 25. In a business-as-usual scenario, global energy demand is forecast to rise by 40% by 2030. Fossil fuels account for over 75% of supply. 6
  • 26. 7 According to the IEA, this is what our use of fuels by 2030 should look like if we're to be on course to achieve the 450ppm emissions target.
  • 27. What about renewables? Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROIE) 8 Image source: Energy is Everything (http://www.energybulletin.net/node/48731) A ratio of less than 5:1 means that around 20% of the economy has to be used for 'energy gathering', compared to around 2.5% for the USA today. http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2008/09/net-energy-cliff.html Renewables (and nuclear) are less intensive forms of energy than oil, coal and gas. Efficiency gains, even if managed correctly, will not make up for the lower EROEI of renewables.
  • 28. Common features of the plans The five plans David MacKay's Five Plans for providing renewable energy for the UK by 2050. They all assume significant energy efficiencies, as seen in the left image. 9 Image source: Without Hot Air by David MacKay http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c27/page_212.sh tml “All these plans are absurd!”
  • 29. Peak Oil Hubbert's Curve The dotted line is actual production. Notice how the energy crisis in the 1970s 'corrected' the trend. 10 Image source: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5160 Oil is our primary source of fossil fuel energy. It is an essential resource used in the supply chain of all other energies.
  • 30. Global oil production has plateaued since 2005 and has started to drop. Has Peak Oil arrived? Will we see $175/barrel oil in 2012? Oil hit an all-time high of $147/barrel in July 2008, two months prior to the financial crash. 11 Image source: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5979 Like all fossil fuels, oil is a finite resource and there is no disagreement about the supply of oil eventually running out. The point however, is not about oil running out but rather when it becomes uneconomic as a source of energy. The IEA would agree with this as do the UK Energy Research Council, who last month, published the Global Depletion Report, which is an authoritative review of all available evidence to date. (http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/tiki-index.php?page=Global+Oil+Depletion) They conclude: “On the basis of current evidence we suggest that a peak of conventional oil production before 2030 appears likely and there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020.” If we accept that there will be a peak in the production of oil within ten years, if it hasn’t already occurred, we might consider David MacKay’s Five Energy Plans for Britain, and consider the alternatives. There are two significant variables that need to be taken into account when considering a transition from oil to other energy sources. The first is how long it will take to replace our current oil-based global energy infrastructure with something we think is a viable alternative. The second is EROEI or net energy. On oil prices and the recession, see James Hamilton’s paper, ‘Causes and Consequences of the Oil Shock of 2007-08′. It’s worth starting from a discussion on The Oil Drum (http://netenergy.theoildrum.com/node/5304), where you can download the paper. For a more succinct summary, see the FT article here (http://blogs.ft.com/energy-source/2009/04/03/was-the-us-recession-caused-by-the- oil-shock-of-2007-08/) and a rebuke here (http://blogs.ft.com/energy- source/2009/09/01/comment-searching-in-vain-for-the-oil-shock-effect/). Still, even the rebuke recognises the impact oil can have on an economy: “It is through second- round effects that inflation can rise. For an oil importer, a rise in the price of oil means that the country is poorer as a whole. No matter what policy action they take, their terms of trade have deteriorated.”
  • 31. “The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking.” The ‘Hirsch Report’: Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management. We need 10-20 years of intense global effort to move away from oil without unprecedented economic, social and political costs. If oil did peak in 2005, we've left it too late... ...but an unprecedented shift to zero carbon fuels, assumes the use of energy intense fuels such as oil, to get us there. We can't build nuclear power stations on wind and solar power. 12 The ‘Hirsch Report’: Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management (PDF). An often cited report commissioned by the US Department of Energy in 2005 http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/others/pdf/Oil_P eaking_NETL.pdf
  • 32. 83 13 From January 2010, we have 83 months left before we are likely to be beyond the tipping point of irreversible climate change. This is a conservative estimate. December 2016. See http://onehundredmonths.org for a brief, useful technical report on how this was calculated.
  • 33. Our economic model of growth, the paradox of efficiencies, the reality of EROEI and the time we have to act, does not lead us to 'sustainability'. A more useful, honest way of understanding and addressing our predicament is in terms of 'resilience'. 14
  • 34. “Resilience is the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganise while undergoing change, so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks.” 15 This is the common definition of ‘resilience’ used by the Transition Town movement adopted from Brian Walker and David Salt, (2006) Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World. See Rob Hopkins (2008) The Transition Handbook. From oil dependency to local resilience. For an academic critique of the Transition Town’s use of ‘resilience’, see Alex Haxeltine and Gill Seyfang, Transitions for the People: Theory and Practice of ‘Transition’ and ‘Resilience’ in the UK’s Transition Movement. A paper presented at the 1st European Conference on Sustainability Transitions, July 2009 (http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/Tyndall- Publications/Working-Paper/2009/Transitions- People-Theory-and-Practice-‘Transition’-and-‘Res)
  • 35. Q: “Why be Green?” A: “Resilience” (but let's not kid ourselves) 16
  • 36. Energy depletion and climate change will impose a different economic model. We can wait for it to happen... Source: http://managingwithoutgrowth.com 17 The following three slides come from a presentation by Dr. Peter A. Victor. Managing Without Growth. Slower by design, not disaster. Conference on Economics, Population and Sustainability. October 2009. http://populationinstitute.org/newsroom/events/view/5/ http://managingwithoutgrowth.com/Home__MWG.html
  • 37. ...or we can plan for a more resilient economy and work towards it. We need to redefine terms like 'Prosperity', 'Sustainability', 'Business Continuity' Source: http://managingwithoutgrowth.com 18
  • 38. What would change? ● New meanings and measures of success ● Limits on materials, energy, wastes and land use? ● More meaningful prices ● More durable, reparable goods ● Fewer status goods ● More informative advertising ● Better screening of technology ● More efficient capital stock ● More local, less global ● Reduced inequality ● Less work, more leisure ● Education for life, not just work Source: http://managingwithoutgrowth.com See also: Steady State Economy FAQ http://www.steadystate.org/CASSEFAQs.html 19
  • 39. Resilience, it seems to me, is a pre-requisite for sustainability if you accept the tangible and coupled threats of energy security and climate change enforcing long-term zero or negative growth. If oil production has peaked just prior to the worst economic crisis in living memory and faced with the need to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% in the next forty years, should we not first develop a more resilient model that we wish to sustain? In terms of energy use, can efficiencies alone lead to sustainability? No. Can renewables supply the ever increasing global demand for energy? No. At what point does ‘efficiency’ actually mean conservation, rationing and frugality? At what point do we change our habits, our ambitions and our institutions instead of telling ourselves that we are being efficient, as we do today? GreenICT, if it exists, may be thought of as ICT which contributes towards a zero growth or Steady State economy. 20 From Prosperity Without Growth (http://www.sd- commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=914) p.46: …the answer to the question of whether growth is functional for stability is this: in a growth-based economy, growth is functional for stability. The capitalist model has no easy route to a steady-state position. Its natural dynamics push it towards one of two states: expansion or collapse. Put in its simplest form the ‘dilemma of growth’ can now be stated in terms of two propositions: Growth is unsustainable – at least in its current form. Burgeoning resource consumption and rising environmental costs are compounding profound disparities in social wellbeing ‘De-growth’ is unstable – at least under present conditions. Declining consumer demand leads to rising unemployment, falling competitiveness and a spiral of recession. This dilemma looks at first like an impossibility theorem for a lasting prosperity. But it cannot be avoided and has to be taken seriously. The failure to do so is the single biggest threat to sustainability that we face.

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