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Posted 31 Mar 2009 by Vajras
Turn Them Off
by Keith Orchison
As a gimmick, the weekend’s Earth Hour has to be judged a success – for one thing it garnered the environmental activists 3,900 news articles around the world in 48 hours. It was reportedly the top search item on Twitter and a 30-second clip on You Tube attracted tens of thousands of views.
It has become, said one US commentator, a sort of open-source movement against global warming.
However, if you did turn your lights off for Earth Hour why did you not first ask yourself why you had them on and were they necessary at all?
But, regardless of the stupidity of having any lights on before Earth Hour, if the same effort could be conjured to persuade the users of the world’s one billion PCs to power down their PC's for just one night, that would save the energy used by the Empire State Building for the next 30 years.
Contrasting the popularity of Earth Hour with the broad failure over the past three or four years to create a movement to stop individuals and organisations from running idle computers is – at least to me – an interesting contrast between the 'feel good' aspects of the global warming debate and the hard reality of taking meaningful action.
Examined one by one, PCs may not appear to be a big energy hog, but they and their monitors account for 39 per cent of the global emissions of the information and telecommunications technology industry worldwide – and it accounts for two per cent of global greenhouse emissions, equivalent to the gases released by air travel and a third more than the total emissions of Australia.
What’s more, money can be saved by adopting the PC shut-down. A new report last week by a software company and the US Alliance to Save Energy, examining workplace PC power consumption in America, Britain and Germany, claims that the practice would save $US2.8 billion, £300 million and €918 million in those three countries respectively every year.
Powering down a fleet of PCs in a company, the survey claims, can save more than $US36 a year per desktop unit.
In the context of Earth Hour, equally importantly, the practice in the US alone is estimated to have the ability to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 million tonnes a year.
A third of the thousands of workers interviewed as part of the survey said they had no idea what their PC power scheme settings are or how to change them. Most don’t power down their PCs before going home.
Looking forward, while mature markets in the US, western Europe and Japan account today for 58 per cent of the world’s PCs, the growth in demand in the developing world, according to Gartner Research, will see the number in use globally double to two billion by 2014.
The environmental activists who created Earth Hour make no attempt to disguise its purpose. Carter Roberts, chief executive of WWF, said at the weekend: “This is a statement. In and of itself it’s not going to save much energy. The idea is to create political energy.” WWF argues that the stunt delivers a “mandate” to international governments to “tackle climate change.”
This was taken up in Bonn by Yvo de Boer, the lead UN climate negotiator, now entertaining delegates from 175 countries in yet another talk-fest about the talks to take place in Copenhagen in December. “Earth Hour,” he said, “tells every government representative to seal a deal in Copenhagen.”
How many of the delegates in Bonn powered down their PCs overnight, I wonder?
Meanwhile, if you overdosed on Earth Hour, I can suggest a mental emetic: go on to the US Energy Information Agency website. There you can find some updated predictions about sources of worldwide electricity supply.
Looking out to 2020, the agency forecasts that, while power generation from non-emitting supplies will rise 19.5 per cent for nuclear and 14.4 per cent for renewables in 10 years, use of fossil fuels will rise by far more – 49.4 per cent for gas and 34.8 per cent for coal.
What amount of 'political energy' created by the weekend’s stunt will impact on that, do you suppose?
Keith Orchison, director of consultancy Coolibah Pty Ltd and editor of Powering Australia yearbook, was chief executive of two national energy associations from 1980 to 2003. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the energy industry in 2004. He writes Business Spectator's resources and energy blog, Powerline.
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Error: can't attach shared memory
Posted 29 Mar 2009 by Vajras
Host Project Date Message
Milkyway@home 30/03/2009 7:00:35 AM Message from server: Server error: can't attach shared memory
Could someone tell me what this means and how/why it's occurring?
Also, how can it be fixed so wu can be uploaded again?
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Posted 3 Nov 2008 by Vajras
Well said, Dave
Personally, i have found that Project communication has been just fine - even if (sometimes) the front page dosen't have timely updates, if you read the forums you'll find all you'll need to know.
So come on guys, just cut everyone here a bit of slack, eh?