Web Overload

The Guardian UK recently reported on potential problems for the internet, including future bandwidth overload and the web’s carbon footprint.  According to Subodh Bapat, a Vice President at Sun Microsystems:

“We need more data centres, we need more servers. Each server burns more watts than the previous generation and each watt costs more. If you compound all of these trends, you have the perfect storm.”

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Globally, there are more than 1.5 billion people using the internet, and estimates put the yearly energy footprint growth rate at 10%. United States data centers are estimated to consume 1.5% of total energy annually. Google and YouTube are among the most visited websites, resulting in ever-increasing energy costs – and therefore carbon debt. The article states, “From having a relatively small impact just a few years ago, [the computer industry] is now leapfrogging other sectors like the airline industry that are more widely known for their negative environmental impact.”