By now I imagine a good selection of you will at least have heard about the furore caused by the 10:10 viral video released by the 10:10 campaign on October 1st, if you have not actually seen it. For those that haven’t then there are plenty of copies on YouTube (http://bit.ly/cMFTzf), even though the original was taken down from the campaign site within hours and replaced with an apology (http://bit.ly/cFhUl6).
Now I am as big a fan of Monty Python type humour as anybody, but everything should have its place and this kind ludicrous sick pantomime has no place being used to discuss a topic such as climate change, which has vast economic implications. In this context it is a subliminal threat that only helps to enforce the über-green belief that your choices are to accept what they say or die.
This has played into the hands of hard-line climate sceptics, who quite rightly point out that the message coming from these people is more about control than environment. Humans as a species are all about power; it’s a primary driver and can be found at the root of every religion, movement, government, committee, and day to day business. A lot of the environmentalist movement is about a new group making a play for power in the world, and you only have to look how fast politicians have tried to get in on the act to see how the pure green message has now been swallowed up by broader politics. This is a shame because the environmental messages are often very valid, but all the power plays dilute these messages to the point of turning off their intended audience – the general public.
As a result we are now pretty much disaster exhausted, to the point that the claims of doom have to be ever more strident and have now reached truly ridiculous proportions (like 200 foot sea level rises), and yet the population as whole is becoming MORE sceptical.
So that just leaves death threats…..
10:10 is all about reducing CO2 emissions 10% by 10th October 2010 and then in 10% steps moving on, which is a noble goal but when you consider the entire UK contribution to human CO2 output is 3% of the global output, and China is increasing at 3% per year, then even if the UK were to be wiped off the map it would be irrelevant a year later. So only a 10% cut, when you consider who will actually achieve it in reality, is tokenism. It would reduce China’s “increase” to 2.7% annually and give the annihilation of the UK an extra 36 days until it became irrelevant. Take a dictionary and look up the word futile, and you will see something along the lines of “incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful”. Try to take the hint eco preachers and lay off the death threats already!
I hear the argument “well if everybody thought like that nothing would ever get done…”, but come on, that is not how the world really works, and bullying is not the way to do it.
So what has this to do with a technology blog? Well as we run a hosting business we are slapped with the charge that data centres contribute over 6% of the UK emissions of this harmless, live giving, plant-feeding gas1, and are therefore at front of the queue for being put up against the wall “come the revolution”. Again I say open your eyes and see what is happening in the real world.
It has been more than two years now since we instigated a comprehensive virtualisation project and the vast part of our server farm is now virtualised and consuming 70% less electricity. This also has lead to a reduction of 60% in physical servers, taking storage units into account, with all the environmental benefits that brings. We do not have PCs in our office but thin clients running virtual desktops from the data centre, and in doing so consuming 55% LESS electricity than with regular office PCs. The clients are smaller, quieter, and use fewer components than PCs, and have a greater life.
So if you decide to represent this as CO2 emissions we have managed as a matter of course to dwarf the 10:10 campaign goal, and achieved it over a year ago. Not because the sky was falling, or because somebody held a gun to our heads, but because it saved money and made sound business sense. Innovation is the key, not eco-fascist bullying and subliminal death threats.
This is how you achieve your goals and then whether you believe in manmade climate change or not the result is the same – and not one child need be exterminated in the process.
No pressure indeed.
1 Carbon Dioxide is the second most important gas on the planet to sustain human life, after Oxygen. In terms of Earth history 400 parts per million (ppm) is near starvation levels, as it has been 10-25 times this level in then past – often when life was at its most prolific. Much below 200ppm plants do not grow well and start to die off below 120ppm. So remove all the Oxygen and we would die in less than a minute, but remove all the Carbon Dioxide and life as we know it would be extinct within months.