The greeNsort® project is a unique risk-free, low-cost and high-impact UN SDG Action opportunity to contribute to the European Green Deal. greeNsort® could quickly deliver energy savings of up to 50 TWh/year and emission savings up to 30 MtCO2e/year.

Politics talks about climate action but acts on buzzwords and subsidizes growth, not savings, although avoiding emissions is the most economic action.

Politics talks about clean-tech

We will be a world leader in circular economy and clean technologies — Ursula von der Leyen1

talks about efficient IT

We will have to develop technologies with the Green New Deal to minimize energy consumption and improve energy efficiency […] The fight against climate change cannot be won without digital solutions — Margrethe Vestager2

even talks about sustainable software algorithms

Environmental protection must be programmed into every algorithm — Svenja Schulze3

but acts on buzzwords: AI

28 Million EUR funding for Environmental protection by AI algorithms — Svenja Schulze4

silly enough: AI is part of the problem

Machine learning generates far more carbon emissions than most people realize — HAI Stanford5

Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes — MIT Technology Review6

hence politics funds even more AI

150 Million EUR funding for Sustainable AI made in Europe — Svenja Schulze7

although IT professionals warn to not ignore efficiency of all of IT

The [European] Commission should legislate specific and ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction requirements accompanied by suitable enforcement mechanisms for the ICT sector overall — Oliver Grau8

even the industry lobby is worried

In addition to acute crisis management, a long-term view of climate protection and strategic competitive opportunities for innovative technologies must not be lost — BDI The Voice of German Industry9

and declares to act beyond greenwashing

The Green Software Foundation was born out of a mutual desire and need to collaborate across the software industry.

The clean-IT Initiative was founded in 2020 by Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) … with a focus on Algorithmic efficiency and Sustainability by Design

For example SAP via HPI states that to reduce the energy requirements of computer systems it is necessary to:

  1. Raise awareness about the energy footprint of computer systems — yes, what we tell everyone (including them) since 2010
  2. Find feasible methods to measure the energy consumption of computer systems and software — yes, that’s what our footprint measure does
  3. Take the trade-off between performance and energy consumption into account when creating computer systems — yes, and often the other way round: better performance can reduce energy consumption
  4. Establish algorithmic efficiency and sustainability by design as guiding principles in digital engineering — yes, and don’t forget simplicity and robustness
  5. Rethink IT architectures and algorithms — yes, what we do since 2010
  6. Apply clean-IT solutions on a broad scale in popular services and products — yes, for example scaling them via standard libraries

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning — Mark Twain

I’m sort of mildly pessimistic. We’ve been talking about this for some time. The summer UN panel report basically said, “You know what? We started 20 or more years too late.” You take a look around you—we had extreme climate events at higher frequency, greater severity, and globally in terms of scope: floods in China, floods in Turkey, you name it. Pick drought, pick fires, floods in Germany. They didn’t say, “I told you so.” But they basically said, “So the time to prevent that kind of thing has passed.” And so what you see around you now is the new climate normal for the next 20 years. Period. — That window has closed. Nevertheless, if we do nothing, then the second half of the century is going to be pretty unpleasant, to put it mildly. — Michael Spence10

  1. Political Guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024↩︎

  2. EU Commissioner warns of internet’s energy use, climate consequences, 15. December 2019↩︎

  3. German Secretary for the environment, May 7th 2019↩︎

  4. German Secretary for the environment, August 21st 2019↩︎

  5. AI’s Carbon Footprint Problem, July 2nd 2020↩︎

  6. Deep learning has a terrible carbon footprint, June 6th 2019 arXiv↩︎

  7. German Secretary for the environment, June 21st 2021↩︎

  8. Chair ACM Europe Technology Policy Committe, June 22nd 2020↩︎

  9. From “Green deal” to “Smart deal”, June 3rd 2020↩︎

  10. Michael Spence (The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2001) in “Forward Thinking on economies beyond COVID-19 with Michael Spence” interviewed by McKinsey Global Institute, October 6th 2021↩︎

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