David Mytton


Academic papers

Hiding greenhouse gas emissions in the cloud (2020)

Published in Nature Climate Change 10, 701 (2020) (10.1038/s41558-020-0837-6). Full-text access: Nature, Spiral. See also the related Imperial College London interview.

Data centres account for 1% of total global electricity demand but this may grow to between 15-30% of electricity consumption in some countries by 2030. The majority of this growth is attributed to cloud computing, particularly the larg-est “hyperscale” vendors. IT emissions previously accounted for under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 1 and Scope 2 move to Scope 3 when outsourced to the cloud. However, the data needed to complete those calculations is not available from cloud vendors. Further, since Scope 3 emissions tend to be reported only voluntarily and the emissions are aggregated into the global emissions reporting by the large cloud vendors, this can result in emissions being hidden when they are moved to the cloud.

Blog articles

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