Links for 2020-01-27

  • Food types by CO2 footprint

    You want to reduce the carbon footprint of your food? Focus on what you eat, not whether your food is local:

    For most foods – and particularly the largest emitters – most GHG emissions result from land use change (shown in green), and from processes at the farm stage (brown). Farm-stage emissions include processes such as the application of fertilizers – both organic (“manure management”) and synthetic; and enteric fermentation (the production of methane in the stomachs of cattle). Combined, land use and farm-stage emissions account for more than 80% of the footprint for most foods. Transport is a small contributor to emissions. For most food products, it accounts for less than 10%, and it’s much smaller for the largest GHG emitters. In beef from beef herds, it’s 0.5%. Not just transport, but all processes in the supply chain after the food left the farm – processing, transport, retail and packaging – mostly account for a small share of emissions.
    Excellent graph from Our World In Data. tl;dr: beef is massively damaging in terms of emissions, poultry is far less, then fish, then various kinds of veg are at the low end. It’s shocking how much impact beef has.

    (tags: co2 food data farming carbon emissions climate-change methane transport locavores)

  • Use ALB auth to add user authentication

    AWS now allows services to be secured using ‘Cognito User Pool (comes with a built-in user database and supports user federation (Google, Facebook, SAML, OICD, …)’, or OpenID Connect (OICD) which ‘integrates with any OICD-compliant identity provider.’

    (tags: aws alb authentication load-balancers openid google saml auth)

  • Making a green internet with the Green Web Foundation

    The tech sector is responsible for 2% to 4% of global emissions today. That’s less than all automobile transport, but roughly comparable to the global emissions of all shipping, or aviation. [….] The problem is that even as our electricity grids transition to more sustainable sources of energy, by dropping coal in favour of renewables, for instance, this doesn’t automatically mean we’re getting a much greener internet. That’s partly because the internet, while distributed around the world, is not evenly distributed. If you were to look at a map of all the major infrastructures of the internet, you’d see that it clusters around a number of geographic features. The reason behind this is that there is a cost, both in time and money, to move data around the world, and even though that cost dropped over time, the rate that we generate and use data for processing has grown faster than this cost has dropped. This creates incentives to increase the amount of infrastructure in a few places, rather than distribute it evenly. So, where we’ve previously seen data centres built in places with good access to fossil fuel energy, and in a regulatory environment that favours established fossil fuel industries over renewables, you’ll often see even more internet infrastructure being built, often using the same kinds of ‘grey’ power mixes. The best example of this is the Data Centre Alley in North Virginia, USA. Here, the county of Loudoun boasts that 70% of the world’s internet traffic passes through its digital infrastructure. With 13.5 million square feet of data centres in use, and another 4.5 million planned or developed, it’s the largest concentration of infrastructure in the world. Most of the power needed for this data centre comes from a single company, Dominion Energy, which runs a particularly dirty energy mix, with most of its energy coming from fracked gas, coal and nuclear power. Less than 5% comes from renewables, and this figure will barely pass 10% by 2030.

    (tags: green climate-change datacenters energy power renewables north-virginia internet carbon)

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