Drowning in data – digital pollution, green IT, and sustainable access – WS 11 2017

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Programme overview 2017

WS 11: Digital pollution / impact on the environment Consolidated programme 2018 overview

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Final title of the session: Please send the final title until latest to wiki@eurodig.org. Do not edit the title of the page at the wiki on your own. The link to your session may otherwise disappear.

Session teaser

We cannot legitimately discuss Internet access without addressing sustainability.

Keywords

Access, Carbon footprint, Circular economy, Climate change, Digital pollution, E-waste, Energy, Greenhouse gas emissions, Green IT, ICT4D, ICT4S, Sustainability, Sustainable development

Session description

Largely absent from discussions surrounding Internet governance and Internet access is the concept of sustainability. It touches on much more than merely the kind of energy supplying critical Internet infrastructure or cooling servers; it also relates to the sourcing, manufacturing, and recyclability of Internet-connected devices, the amount of power that is being consumed by information and communications technologies (ICTs), the energy needed to power our ever-growing data consumption, and even "digital pollution," such as unused spectrum or Internet Protocol (IP)/Automated System (AS) addresses.

Europe is a global leader in promoting sustainability and renewable energy, and considering that environmental challenges such as the proliferation of e-waste and worsening climate change, the EuroDIG community is in a prime position to promote sustainable access and concepts like the circular economy as it relates to ICTs. Given the Internet governance community's endeavor to [www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/policy-options-for-connecting-and-enabling-the-next-billions-phase-ii connect the next billion] Internet users as well as the exponential growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it is critical that we consider sustainability when addressing Internet access.

Working with the RIPE NCC, this session aims to bring the concept of sustainability to the fore, and explore how the Internet governance community, specifically in Europe, can work in a multistakeholder fashion to promote sustainability within the Internet ecosystem.

Format

The session will be conducted in a manner that maximizes interaction using a roundtable discussion format. It will include key participants as well who can better inform the discussion about various perspectives on the topic. The draft agenda is as follows:


5' – Introduction to the session and of the key participants, and an overview of why the subject is relevant and timely.

20' – Key participant presentations (preferably sharing a range of perspectives).

15' – Discussion: Is there a problem with the growing footprint of ICTs/pace of growth/trends/size of the problem (here we can introduce the concept of ICTs in the EU being close to 8-10% of electricity consumption, and the different elements such as data centers, transmission networks, end user equipment, etc.)

15' – What are companies doing about it? What is the EC doing about it? What are end users doing about it? What is civil society doing about it (Greenpeace, European Environmental Bureau, CSISAC, etc.)? And how can the technical community, such as RIPE NCC, cut down on digital pollution?

15' – Can we measure initiatives for carbon footprinting (this links to ITU-T, EC, etc.), or push for less e-waste/greater e-waste recycling and more circular economies?

15' – Final debate: Do we need to do more? How can the Internet governance community do more?

5' – Wrap-up and conclusion

Further reading

Select resources and links reflecting perspectives from stakeholders are listed below:

  1. VOX (2017) – Why your old phones collect in a junk drawer of sadness
  2. Energy Transitions Comission (2017) – Better energy, greater prosperity: Achievable pathways to low-carbon energy systems
  3. VOX (2017) – Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change
  4. DEMAND (n.d.) – Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand
  5. Jason Koebler (Motherboard) (2017) – Apple Forces Recyclers to Shred All iPhones and MacBooks
  6. Arielle Duhaime-Ross (VICE) (2017) – No mining required: Apple promises to stop mining minerals to make iPhones – it just isn’t sure how yet
  7. Apple (2017) – 2016 Environmental Responsibility Report
  8. Michael Oghia (CircleID) (2017) – Shedding Light on How Much Energy the Internet and ICTs Consume
  9. Telefónica Internet of Things (IoT) Team (2017) – Infographic: 5 saving and efficiency Key Factors in Smart Energy Solutions
  10. World Health Organization (WHO) (2017) – Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment
  11. E-mail exchange between Michael Oghia and Vint Cerf (2017) – What fraction of the power consumption does the Internet (and its access devices) take?
  12. Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change (DCICC) (2016) – Linking ICTs and Climate Change: Towards COP21 and SDGs
  13. Michael Oghia (CircleID) (2016) – The Internet’s Climate Quandary and the Inconvenience of Practicing What We Preach
  14. David Franquesa, Leandro Navarro, & Xavier Bustamante (2016) – A Circular Commons for Digital Devices: Tools and Services in eReuse.org
  15. Emily Cox, Sarah Royston, and Jan Selby (UK Energy Research Centre) (2016) – The impacts of non-energy policies on the energy system: A scoping paper
  16. Danny Bradbury (The Register) (2016) Super cool: Arctic data centres aren't just for Facebook
  17. Karmenu Vella (European Commission blog) (2016) – To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we must change our linear economic model
  18. Hazas et al. (2016) – Are there limits to growth in data traffic?: On time use, data generation and speed
  19. CircleID (2016) – Data growth, IoT will lead to unlimited energy consumption if not controlled, scientists warn
  20. GSMA (2016) – Mobile Industry Impact Report: Sustainable Development Goals
  21. Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) (2015) – SMARTer2030 ICT Solutions for 21st Century Challenges
  22. Jason Koebler (Motherboard) (2015) – How to Fix Everything
  23. Jessica Benko (New York Times) (2015) – Making and Unmaking the Digital World
  24. CCCB Lab (2014) – How polluting is the Internet?
  25. The Atlantic (2014) – Inside a Massive Electronics Graveyard
  26. Leyla Acaroglu (New York Times) (2013) – Where Do Old Cellphones Go to Die?
  27. Greenpeace (2012) – How Clean is Your Cloud?
  28. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) (n.d.) – ITU-T Goal 3 Sustainability
  29. UN Climate Technology Centre & Network (n.d.) – CTCN

Additional resources on sustainability in Europe

  1. Rescoop.eu (n.d.) – European Federation of Renewable Energy Cooperatives
  2. European Union (2016) – Green Digital Charter
  3. European Union product policy (n.d.) – Cool Products.EU
  4. European Union Resource Efficiency Coordination Action (n.d.) – EURECA Project
  5. European Telecommunications Standards Institute (2015) – Environmental Engineering (EE): Methodology for environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) goods, networks, and services
  6. European Commission (2014) – Study on the practical application of the new framework methodology for measuring the environmental impact of ICT – cost/benefit analysis
  7. European Commission (2013) – Towards an overall measurement methodology of the carbon and energy footprints of the ICT sector
  8. European Commission (2013) – ICT footprint: Pilot testing on methodologies for energy consumption and carbon footprint of the ICT-sector
  9. ICT Footprint.eu (n.d.) – European Framework Initiative for Energy & Environmental Efficiency in the ICT Sector

Additional resources on data center efficiency

  1. Google data centers
  2. Efficiency: How others can do it (Google)
  3. Google’s green data centers: Network POP case study
  4. Machine learning applications for data center optimization
  5. The data center as a computer: An introduction to the design of warehouse-scale machines
  6. Data center best practices guide: Energy efficiency solutions for high-performance data centers

Additional resources on e-waste

  1. UN University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (2014) – The global e-waste monitor: Quantities, flows and resources
  2. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) activities on e-waste
  3. iFixIt e-waste website
  4. WHO e-waste
  5. Solving the e-Waste Problem (STEP)
  6. Flashdrives for Freedom
  7. Pacific Hazardous Waste Management (PacWaste)

People

  • Focal Point & WS 11 Wiki Editor: Michael J. Oghia (Independent #netgov consultant & editor | Serbia | LinkedIn)

Focal Points take over the responsibility and lead of the session organisation. Focal Points are kindly requested to observe EuroDIG's session principles. Focal Points work in close cooperation with the respective Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the EuroDIG Secretariat.

  • Subject Matter Expert: Chris Buckridge (RIPE NCC | Netherlands)

SMEs are responsible for the clustering of submissions into a thematic category they have an expertise in. They define subtopics and identify submissions which fall under this subtopic. The aim is to verify submissions which can be merged in one session. In the course of the session organising process SMEs will serve as a mentor for the respective category by supporting all Focal Points.

  • Key Participants (for workshop)
  1. Robert Clark (ITU | Switzerland)
  2. Mike Hazas (University of Lancaster | UK)

Until 15 May 2017. Key Participants (workshop) are experts willing to provide their knowledge during a session – not necessarily on stage. Key Participants should contribute to the session planning process and keep statements short and punchy during the session. Panellist (plenary) will be selected and assigned by the org team, ensuring a stakeholder balanced dialogue also considering gender and geographical balance. Panellists should contribute to the session planning process and keep statements short and punchy during the session. Please provide short CV’s of the Key Participants involved in your session at the Wiki or link to another source.

  • Moderator

Until 15 May 2017.

The moderator is the facilitator of the session at the event. Moderators are responsible for including the audience and encouraging a lively interaction among all session attendants. Please make sure the moderator takes a neutral role and can balance between all speakers.

Please provide short CV of the moderator of your session at the Wiki or link to another source.

  • Remote Moderator

Until 15 May 2017.

The Remote Moderator is in charge of facilitating participation via digital channels such as WebEx and social medial (Twitter, facebook). Remote Moderators monitor and moderate the social media channels and the participants via WebEX and forward questions to the session moderator. Please contact the EuroDIG secretariat if you need help to find a remote moderator.

  • Organising Team (Org Team)

As they sign up The Org Team is a group of people shaping the session. Org Teams are open and every interested individual can become a member.

  1. Cristobal Irazoqui (Independent | Belgium)
  2. Suso Baleato (CSISAC | Germany)
  3. Suzanne Taylor (RIPE NCC | Netherlands)
  4. Alexandra Groza (Independent | Romania)
  5. Mike Hazas (University of Lancaster | UK)
  6. Robert Clark (ITU | Switzerland)
  7. Amali De Silva (Independent | Canada)
  • Reporter

Until 15 May 2017. The Reporter takes notes during the session and formulates 3 (max. 5) bullet points at the end of each session that:

  • are summarised on a slide and presented to the audience at the end of each session
  • relate to the particular session and to European Internet governance policy
  • are forward looking and propose goals and activities that can be initiated after EuroDIG (recommendations)
  • are in (rough) consensus with the audience
  • are to be submitted to the secretariat within 48 hours after the session took place

Please provide short CV of the reporter of your session at the Wiki or link to another source and contact the EuroDIG secretariat if you need help to find a reporter.

Current discussion, conference calls, schedules and minutes

The organizing team – hereby referred to as org team – took some time to shape, as the topic at hand has been traditionally absent from the wider agenda of Internet governance. The first pre-org team meeting was held between Michael Oghia (focal point) and RIPE NCC staff members Chris Buckridge (subject matter expert) and Suzanne Taylor (org team member) on 16 March 2017 while in Copenhagen, Denmark, for ICANN58 (the minutes of that meeting are available here).

Two weeks later, Chris and Michael met once again at RightsCon 2017 in Brussels, where Michael was able to connect with many new individuals who may be interested in getting involved. These include an energy-conscious data host (Greenhost), a sustainably sourced smartphone maker (Fairphone), and a member of the Access Now team (which hosted RightsCon) that cares about sustainability. In addition to Suso Baleato of CSISAC (OECD), who formally joined the org team as well at RightsCon, Cristobal Irazoqui (independent) met with Michael on 29 March 2017, and he enthusiastically agreed to join the org team as well. Chris also put Michael in touch with a contact at Telefonica, which has conducted environmentally friendly research, and Michael reached out to Google. As of 4 April 2017, Michael is still waiting to hear back from the ITU secretariat and Study Group 5, but he am also in touch with a contact who works at the UN's Climate and Technology Center & Network (CTCN) to see if he would like to join the org team (see these notes for more information).

On Monday, April 24, Michael sent the first message to the organizing team (available here), followed by discussion and follow-up emails (available here). We agreed to host our first online meeting (via Zoom) on May 8, 9, or 10 depending on the Doodle poll.

Contact

Get in contact with the Org Team by sending an email to ws11@eurodig.org or Michael: mike.oghia[at]gmail.com.

Video record

Will be provided here after the event.

Transcript

Will be provided here after the event.

Messages

Please provide a short summary from the outcome of your session. Bullet points are fine.