I think we have all noticed the green, environmental, sustainability hype is not as much in the news. Newsweek covers this topic.
A Green Retreat
Why the environment is no longer a surefire political winner.
Scott Dunn / Getty Images
Just three years ago the politics of global warming was enjoying its golden moment. The release in 2006 of Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, had riveted global audiences with its predictions of New York and Miami under 20 feet of water. Within 12 months, leading politicians with real power were on board. Germany’s Angela Merkel, dubbed the “climate chancellor” by her country’s press, arranged a Greenland photo op with a melting iceberg and promised to cut Europe’s emissions by 20 percent by 2020. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who called climate change a scourge equal to fascism, offered 60 percent by 2050. In December 2007, the world got its very first green leader. Harnessing the issue of climate change, Kevin Rudd became prime minister of Australia, ready to take on what he called “the biggest political, economic, and moral challenge of our times.” Now, almost everywhere, green politics has fallen from its lofty heights.
The hype of 2007 is catching up to reality.
There are other ways green policies have lost their innocence since 2007. In many ways, green projects have become just another flavor of grubby interest politics. Biofuels have become a new label for old-style agricultural subsidies that funnel some $20 billion annually to landowners with little effect on emissions (only Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol produces any significant savings; America’s corn ethanol and Europe’s biodiesel do not). Germany’s solar subsidies, a signature project in the country’s battle against climate change, are perhaps the most wasteful green scheme on earth, producing a mere 0.25 percent of the country’s energy at a cost to consumers of as much as $125 billion. A leading member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats in the German Parliament says there is growing unease both in his party and in the Bundestag “about the scary monster we’ve created that is sucking up ever larger amounts of money for a negligible effect.”
I've told people many times going green is not a binary thing, it is a commitment of a way to do things. Getting the allocation right when you think of the environmental impact of your actions.
In other words, some of the money spent on current policies that often have only limited efficacy might be better spent on other measures, including protection against the worst effects of warming. What’s more, current economic worries are a reminder that every dollar spent on solar cells or biodiesel is a dollar less for education and other budget priorities. If that means climate and environmental policies in the future will be more stringently measured in terms of the tradeoffs involved given finite resources, that would be a lasting benefit that even Kevin Rudd might appreciate.
It's why a green data center is not identified by a LEED rating or a low PUE.
You can make a greener data center, but it is not simple.
Read the rest of the Newsweek article to get a reflective look at past actions.