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Summary:

The Internet and the digital revolution can be a major player in fighting climate change, says Al Gore at a Google event.

A picture of Al Gore speaking at Google earlier this year.

The digital revolution and the explosion of data are powerful tools that can help solve the climate crisis, said Vice President Al Gore at Google’s ‘How Green is the Internet?’ on Thursday. In Gore’s talk he applauded the leadership roles that tech companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft have been taking around energy, clean power, and sustainability.

The event is Google’s third that focuses on the energy of Internet, and Google told me it’s assembled the small group to discuss the environmental effects and benefits of the Internet. It’s a complex question. For example, while data centers consume a lot of power to run the Internet, e-commerce on average uses less energy than brick-and-mortar retail shopping because of the reduction of the driving of the shopper.

There’s a lot more questions than there are answers, pointed out Google’s Senior VP, Technical Infrastructure, Urs Hoelzle in his introduction for Gore. If we can focus on asking the right questions, we can empower significant research in this area, said Hoelzle. For more information on the current research available, check out the papers that Google amassed for the event.

Green data center expert Jonathan Koomey, who spoke right after Gore, also emphasized the need for more data around energy and the Internet. We need data on electricity use and potential savings, we need network devices that automatically do this type of reporting and we need more case studies, said Koomey. But overall, said Koomey, the focus on the electricity use of the Internet is misplaced; the energy savings benefits of things like smart systems, dematerialization (replacing atoms with bits) and IT-related efficiency could potentially be much more powerful than the direct energy used by the Internet.

  1. What climate crisis is he talking about? Wasn’t this addressed almost a decade ago in Southpark’s “Manbearpig” episode. This is a sad cry for attention and a SCAM.

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  2. Meteorologists Rock Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Why doesn’t Al Gore practice what he preaches? He has done himself no favor by making it known he has a private jet that he zips around in. But perhaps more importantly, given Gore being a proponent of the “super information highway” and given he spend time and mindset in Silicon Valley, why not further “democratize” the world and get the word out there by simply releasing publish his books in an open format (PDF, ePUB) and make them available for free to anyone with an Internet connection, via an appropriate Creative Commons license? He could optionally still sell his books (such as to raise money for charity which funds could be used toward the causes Gore believes in). But to make his books compulsory purchases, really? Its not as if Gore is hurting for money after the sale of Current TV. If he wanted to be even more visionary, he could make his books available as free Creative Commons licensed digital only (no physical print copies, which in and of itself would reduce fossil fuel both in the printing of the books and the shipping of them and also not requiring people spend fossil fuel driving cards to physical book stores or having them sent my plane, train, truck from the likes of Amazon to the customer). Seriously, how hard could this be? Where is Gore’s vision and out of the box thinking on something as simple as his books and how they are published / distributed? So this goes back to the original criticism … zipping around in private jets etc. It would also behoove Gore to hire a consultant who is an atmospheric scientist (since he has stumbled on some of the science in the past … case in point, he didn’t realize until 6 months after super storm Sandy that the blocking ridge of high pressure over Greenland / Newfoundland – possibly in part forced by Arctic sea ice changes in the past decade per Rutgers Dr. Jennifer Francis – played an important role with the path that Sandy took and its merger with a non-tropical baroclinic wave in the atmosphere over New England). If Gore knew his meteorology (or had a consultant to advise him), he would have been all over it immediately instead of waiting 6 months to point to an article mentioning it. C’mon Al, you know the definition of baroclinity right? (hint: its the number of isobaric isosteric solenoids per unit area).

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  3. Climate Change? really? After NOAA and all the data show that we were simply reaching a solar maximum and we are actually still in a long cycle of cooling? Here’s the clue…you cannot get more active hurricanes and tornadoes without….you guessed it….COLDER air being pushed up.

    Time for Al to move on to something else to scam the world with

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  4. more predictable Fehrenbacher. Not even worth clicking on the articles any more.

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  5. chastity_1111 Sunday, June 9, 2013

    it is terribly sad that folks, choose, to ignore 97% of science that agree we are warming. and an artic half gone. just to pick on poor ole’ al here.
    the disinformation machine is well funded. with extinction as the outcome, i get tired of the ill informed, unscientific having their moment in the light. most paid to be disruptive.
    even more tired of a silent media on such a life and death issue.
    with methane spewing out faster then we ever thought at this degree, we should all be marching to action. and making list’s of folks who get in the way of ending the confusion.
    the feedback loop is. sooner then anyone thought. we’ve no time for debate. even those at NASA and the pentagon agree it’s a national security issue.
    when they will take hold of the cause i regret not knowing.
    j

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  6. Charles E. Campbell Monday, June 10, 2013

    No More Climate Change Games Al Gore!

    Climate Change due to Global Warming is real. What’s more interesting is Why Al Gore and other Climate Change Advocates are ignoring Allen Hydro Energy Corporation’s Solution? The use of fossil fuels for electricity is unsustainable! Nuclear Power is too dangerous and solar and wind, although great alternatives cannot meet the demand for developed and developing nations. Allen Hydro Energy Corporation (AHEC) has a solution at http://www.ahecEnergy.com. AHEC is a US based renewable energy startup seeking VC to validate its process.

    I challenge both sides of the Climate Change debate to take a look at our Innovation and US Patent (#8,400,007 B2) and spread the world about this innovative solution. We all live on this one planet, breath the same air and will be affected by what each other does. The atmosphere is truly the one thing that connects us all, whether we believe that or not.

    Charles E. Campbell, Founder & CEO
    Allen Hydro Energy Corporation (AHEC)
    http://www.ahecEnergy.com
    614-668-0327
    937-303-1159

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