Environment Variables
The Week in Green Software: Complex Carbon Accounting with Gaël Duez
September 7, 2023
On this episode of Environment Variables, Chris Adams is joined by fellow podcast host of the Green IO podcast Gaël Duez. Together they will cover the complexity of carbon accounting, new patents around carbon aware programming from Microsoft, and the flight of climate nerds from Twitter / X.com or whatever we’re calling it these days. Finally they share some exciting events from the world of Green Software including some upcoming events and we find out exactly why Gaël is a real-life bond villain!
On this episode of Environment Variables, Chris Adams is joined by fellow podcast host of the Green IO podcast Gaël Duez. Together they will cover the complexity of carbon accounting, new patents around carbon aware programming from Microsoft, and the flight of climate nerds from Twitter / X.com or whatever we’re calling it these days. Finally they share some exciting events from the world of Green Software including some upcoming events and we find out exactly why Gaël is a real-life bond villain!

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Gaël Duez: Financial accountants, they know for ages that one euro doesn't equal to one euro. If one euro is invested, or it's in your account ready to get used, or if you invest it in fees or in wages, it's not the same euro, and it's pretty much the same with CO2. And we tend to compensate everything. And you know, I love John Oliver's quote saying that we will not offset a way out of this climate crisis.

And this is exactly what is at stake here with this so called Scope 4, which is all about avoided emissions.

Chris Adams: Hello, and welcome to Environment Variables, brought to you by the Green Software Foundation. In each episode, we discuss the latest news and events surrounding green software. On our show, you can expect candid conversations with top experts in their field who have a passion for how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of software.

I'm your host, Chris Adams.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of This Week in Green Software, where we bring you the latest news and updates from the world of sustainable software development. I'm your host, Chris Adams. In this episode, we're covering the complexity of carbon accounting, new patents around carbonware programming from Microsoft, the flight of climate nerds from Twitter or X.com or whatever we're calling it these days, and where we're finding our climate news instead. Finally, we'll be covering some exciting and interesting events from the world of green software coming up in the coming months. All right, before we dive in, though, let me introduce my guest and colleague for this episode of TWiGS.

With us today, we have Gaël Duez. Gaël, I'll hand over to you to introduce yourself. Thanks.

Gaël Duez: Hi, Chris. A pleasure to be here. Well, I'm Gaël Duez. I'm the founder of the Green IO Podcast, which aims to empower all responsible technologists, an expression I kindly borrow to our host, Chris, when he joined the fourth episode. So yeah, I aim to empower all responsible technologists within the tech sector and beyond to build a greener digital world one byte it at a time. So I guess it sounds pretty familiar to the listeners. And I'm also a former CTO trying to redeem the carbon footprint of its past IT operation, if I dare to say. I now help tech companies deploy sustainable strategies aligned with the Paris Agreement and beyond the carbon funnel.

I also contribute to our community, or at least try to, via public conferences and workshops on digital sustainability, and having the privilege of living in Réunion Island, I'm also the proud dad of a little daughter who enjoys hiking in its beautiful cirques, like we did last weekend, which is why I'm so energized this week.

Chris Adams: Oh, that's really nice to hear. I didn't actually know about that. So for listeners who may not be familiar with Réunion Island, maybe talk a little bit about whereabouts that is in the world, because it is quite a bit further out than I realized when I first heard you tell me where you were coming from in the first place.

Gaël Duez: Yeah, well, the truth is I'm Still mostly working in Europe and with European clients and colleagues, but I live in Reno Island. It's a small volcano island on the north, I would say north, northeast of Madagascar. So I'm based in Africa. But what is interesting is that people often think about it as the tropical islands, so you know, palm trees and beaches, et cetera, et cetera. And actually, it's a very, very mountainous island. There is a 3,000 kilometers high peak called Le Piton des Neiges. And 90% of the island is protected for biodiversity issues, or not issues, actually, because it's not issues yet, but for biodiversity reasons.

So that's pretty interesting island to live, even if we're a bit packed around the shore, obviously, because pretty much all the center is protected, but it's a beautiful place to hike and to do the mountaineering stuff, definitely.

Chris Adams: Wow, cool. Okay, we'll share a link on various mapping tools so people can see Gaël is actually talking about, because when I first saw it, I thought, "wow, that's amazing, it's like I'm speaking to a Bond villain," the first time I saw it. In a good,

Gaël Duez: I hope I'm a bit nicer than a Bond

Chris Adams: villain.

Bond villain a good way, a possibly benevolent dictator of an island, perhaps.

All right. Okay, before we digress too far, let's just provide a quick reminder of this podcast, what we do, and I suppose just the usual boilerplate. So this is a weekly news roundup show. And we're going to cover a series of news stories that caught our eyes that both Gaël and I basically put together over the last week or so.

I realize I didn't actually introduce myself. So my name is Chris Adams. I am the executive director of the Green Web Foundation. We're a non profit based in the Netherlands, working towards an entirely fossil free internet by 2030. And I am also one of the chairs of the Green Software Foundation Policy Working Group. So that's my involvement here.

And also, I am a regular host for the Environment Variables podcast and this podcast here. Okay, then. So we'll cover some stories, and there'll also be a set of extensive show notes with links to all the things we discover and discuss. Alright. So, Gaël, I think you've listened to the format before and you've submitted some of these and you've got a good idea what we talk about.

Is there a particular story you'd like to start with first so we can kind of get into the swing of the show?

Gaël Duez: Yes, indeed. I really enjoyed reading the article from Wholegrain Digital, the well known agency in digital sustainability, about exploring COP3 emissions and the responsibility of the digital sector.

Chris Adams: Yeah, this is the piece by, I think, Marketa Benasek. She's one of the writers at Wholegrain Digital. And this piece is called Exploring the Complexity of Scope 3 Emissions, Responsibility. And there's a couple of quotes which really caught my eye. Essentially, the whole thrust of this article is about trying to give people who work in technology an understanding of how organizations account for, essentially responsibility for emissions, both within their organization, but also outside of their organization. And this quote really leapt out at me. Basically, she's talking about how it's quite hard for you to get the header out. And the quote I like is this one here. So, "in the digital sector where products are often intangible and widely distributed, i.e. through data centers, telecom networks, travel, and so on, attributing emissions becomes challenging."

So she's basically saying, it's difficult to work out who's responsible for some of the emissions when you build a service, for example. She says, like, "many companies struggle to define the boundaries of their responsibility and accurately account for these emissions associated with what they do." And she basically outlines some ways of saying, this is how you can use some of the existing greenhouse gas protocols right now to think about responsibility for this, in particular, the eleventh part of Scope 3, which is related to like use of solar products. So this is one thing that is really interesting seeing agencies talk about this. 'cause typically they've said like, "no, it's not really on us to think about." And Gaël, I'll let you come, come in on some of this if, 'cause I think there's a couple of things that you might wanna share on this and then I'll come back to some of the other parts 'cause I realize you've had to wrestle with some of this stuff yourself as well in some of your work.

Gaël Duez: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I always say Scope 3 is the mother of all battles, you know. And just to take a very recent example, I was reviewing with a client, a very large European tech company, it's greenhouse gas emissions yearly. So it's a yearly audit and as usual, more than 70% was Scope 3, including AWS solutions, of course.

So I know that we tend to focus in the digital sector mostly on scope two, or actually we want to have the greenest possible energy or sorry, electricity, because most of the time it's electricity. But the truth is, if we really want to make a move on climate change, we need to consider seriously the Scope 3 for everyone.

And you know obviously your Scope 1 and 2 is someone else's Scope 3, so it goes all the way up on the value chain.

Chris Adams: I agree. There's another part about Scope 4, which we'll touch on a little bit later, but it might be worth just briefly, I realize we've just dived straight into talking about scoped emissions, and it might be useful for me to just provide a bit of a primer for people who are new to this field. And like one way that I've used to describe this to nerds is talking about the way that people report emissions for any kind of service is usually in a kind of scoped system if you follow the greenhouse gas protocol, and you can think of it belonging to these lines broadly as Scope 1 is basically emissions from burning fossil fuels yourself, things that go into the sky, Scope 2 is emissions from greenhouse gases from generating electricity that you use, and then Scope 3 is this indirect supply chain emissions, basically all the other emissions that happen in your supply chain.

Now the way that I found most useful when speaking to other techie nerds is scoped emissions communicated through the medium of coffee. So, if you think of Scope 1, Scope 1 emissions is burning fossil fuels to make hot coffee, like maybe you burn gas on a stove to heat up water to turn into a delicious cup of coffee.

Scope 2 might be using electricity to heat up a kettle to make some coffee. And then Scope 3 might be you walking into a coffee shop so that you can have coffee, so you're not burning anything yourself, but other people are doing it on your behalf, so there's a whole supply chain associated like that.

And what we'll do, we'll share a link into the show notes with some helpful diagrams for this, because this was how, I believe, Simon, working on the Green Software Foundation CarbonWare SDK, presented this recently at the Linux Foundation. And it's a kind of relatively intuitive way to start thinking about some of this.

Gaël Duez: I love it. And just to add something, please remember that Scope 1 is not only about burning fossil fuels, they are also methane emissions. And just a quick anecdote, Starbucks' entire greenhouse gas footprint, 20% of it accounts for dairy production. And obviously dairy, it's not only about burning fossil fuels, but it's also the methane emissions from the cattle.

Chris Adams: This is right, yeah, I should have said greenhouse gas emissions, of which fossil fuels are a significant part, but you're right.

Gaël Duez: No, but I love your example. It is straightforward, but we tend to forget all the greenhouse gas and CO2. Obviously, CO2 is the main perpetrator here, so we should focus on CO2 first. But it's good also to remember that there are also players in the game, I would say.

Chris Adams: Oh, great. So now that we've spoken about what scoped emissions are, which is probably what we might have done before if we were gonna provide a kind of preamble for this blog post, there's another really interesting quote for me, which I found helpful, which is when Wholegrain themselves are talking about how they've been struggling with this, and this quote says, "calculating Scope 3 emissions is a challenge for us, ourselves, at Wholegrain Digital. Scope 3 emissions of the products we consume, such as software subscriptions, are really hard to calculate, but it's also not exactly clear whether we should take responsibility for our clients' websites during use." So while, technically, these emissions belonged to their clients, or their website's visitors, we also see it as our responsibility to assist in reducing the environmental impact.

They say, like, "digital agencies that make polluting websites should take responsibility for this." And the rest of the post ends up talking a little bit about ideas which are kind of beyond your value chain, and this is like the impact that you might induce, and I think they refer to this as kind of Scope 4, and I've heard other people talk about this as Scope 0, and this is a bit of a kind of wild west right now.

Because this is essentially referring to the idea that if you're building a website that makes it easier for people to, say, hire a cab or shop faster, then there's an impact from you speeding up that activity. And I think this is something that you've been thinking about as well, right, Gaël?

Gaël Duez: Yes, absolutely. And can you indulge me to be the villain here? Because if I'm a James Bond villain, I'm going to play my role. Please, please everyone forget about Scope 4. I really mean it. This is the worst possible naming convention that we could find. I'm really concerned about the discussion around this so called Scope 4, which actually is all about avoided emissions.

How the tools, the services you provide to your clients help them avoiding emissions. But, when we use Scope 4, there's emissions in the same bucket as Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3. And to be honest, I am a big fan of the Net Zero Initiative, which provides a clear dashboard with its three pillars to how a company should contribute to the global objective of carbon neutrality and where tons of CO2 doesn't compensate, 'cause you know, financial accountants, they know for ages, um, that one euro doesn't equal to one euro.

If one euro is invested or it's in your account ready to get used, or if you, you invest it in fees or in wages, it's not the same euro and it's pretty much the same with CO2. And we tend to compensate everything and, you know, I love John Oliver's quote saying that "we will not offset a way out of this climate crisis."

And this is exactly what is at stake here with this so called Scope 4, which is all about avoided emissions. And if you deep dive a bit on the Net Zero Initiatives, I love their approach because it's a dynamic approach, not a static one. No company can reach net zero. That's not possible, because that's not scientifically agreed. What can be agreed is net zero in a closed environment, and the only closed environment we're talking about is planet Earth. So companies contribute to reaching global objective of carbon neutrality, and they've got three pillars to do that. And the first one, you beautifully described, Chris, is pillar A, which is reduce your own company emissions.

Then you've got another pillar, which is reduce others' emissions. And it can be either by helping your suppliers or your clients with your services or whatever solutions you want to deploy to reduce their own emissions. And this is where we tend to hear now this Scope 0 or Scope 4 approach. For me, it's really all about avoided emissions.

And of course, you've got also pillar C, which is removing CO2 from the atmosphere. And these three buckets should be counted and communicated in three completely separate way. And if you think about pillar C, it's a bit like the 1% for the planet initiative. Some company, believe me, marketing people, they will definitely know how to positively communicate on it. Could say, you know, "we allocate 1 or 2% of revenue, or whatever to financing climate technology to remove CO2 out of this atmosphere," but these tons of carbons, they will not offset anything.

And I think we really need to be cautious about using three different buckets to track how we contribute to global neutrality. Sorry if I'm a bit ballistic about it.

Chris Adams: That's okay. We have this podcast to have people with strong opinions and they are able to compete to share them and our listeners are able to decide how they feel or how they want to respond to that stuff. So you mentioned a couple of things about measuring the environmental impact of some of this. And I realized that you've also mentioned just before this call that there's some other groups looking at some of this as well.

And we're going to talk a little bit about that in a second with the next story. But the thing that might be worth just briefly sharing with people is that the GSG protocol right now is in the process of being updated and we've shared a link to basically an update from the World Resources Institute specifically about how they're planning to make some of the updates, because they've done a massive survey with thousands of responses from companies, non-profits and groups like that and we shared some links to basically the presented findings so far and also some of the early things talking about both Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3, and how different companies and organizations are actually saying, "this is how they should be changed to more accurately represent the physical realities of what's happening in the world."

So should we go to the next story, Gaël? Because this one feels like it's tied quite tight to what you were just speaking about. There's idea of measuring this, trying to come up with some other ways of accounting for the emissions in a particular sector. And this link is from the Sustainable Web Design.

There's this introduction of digital carbon ratings that has come out now, and I'll just share a quote from the piece and then I'll have a bit of space for you, uh, to talk about some of this, Gaël. So the general idea is that, The quote I'm going to use is, "we propose a simple digital carbon rating system that follows the original principles of sustainable web design and aims to make website sustainability much more intuitive and accessible for a wider audience" and essentially the short version of this is that they're taking an idea of the average website or looking at a body of an existing data set that is generated by the HTTP archive to get an idea of how large and how small various websites are across this data set.

And they've created a kind of rating system based on where these fall in the distribution. So the fastest and the smallest sites are. Kind of graded at, like, an A or an A+ all the way down to an E, basically, or something along those lines. And this is intended to be used to provide some kind of rating, somewhat like an energy star rating, essentially, so that if you have a website, you can say, "well, we want to be building a, at least A website," or "we're at a D, we should be pushing to get ourselves to a B," for example.

I think I'm gonna open up for you to kind of have a bit to talk about some of this as well, actually, before we go into this in a bit more detail, because my organization was somewhat involved in this, and it's been something that the groups have been working on for a while, and I think there's lots of places this could go in, and it's the first time I've seen people really try to do this and create a kind of shared grading system for this.

So yeah, Gaël, over to you, man.

Gaël Duez: So I love this one because obviously, we need all those initiatives. But I mean, to be honest, I always feel a bit schizophrenic about the multiplication of those initiatives and ratings because we've seen others popping up around the world as well. And don't get me wrong, if you're a web developer based in a dark red state in the US and working in a pickup factory with a CEO watching Fox News on loop, you have my admiration and my full support if you manage to talk about this rating tool and to implement it somehow on your website.

So big, big, big kudos. And I think this is why this kind of initiatives are great. Still, it remains an awareness raising tool. I love the simplicity of the rating and the benchmarking with the HTTP Archive database because it could trigger some healthy emulations also. So really enjoy this part, this approach.

However. It's based on the single and highly debated proxy for energy consumption, which is data transfer. So for web professionals, I would rather advise people to use Ecograder created by MightyBytes, which has several components and not only page weight, or even better, the open source initiative ecoindex.fr, which also try to incorporate other environmental impacts like water. Now, what I believe is that all these initiatives, they're trying to fill a vacuum and this vacuum is the lack of commonly agreed and understood metrics when it comes to how carbon intensive or even how environmental intensive is a website. And this is why the job started with the W3C community under the lead of Tim Frick and especially Lucas Mastalerz, lead the metrics workgroups in this W3C sustainability committee is so important. We need to find Some common way to measure this different environmental footprint based on the latest scientific data available.

Until we do have this, I guess the more the merrier because you want to approach these issues under different angles. A super simplistic one like the one you just described in this article, Chris, and it will be very useful for some people in some situation. But other tools are needed for professionals to really deep dive on where they would have a big impact.

Chris Adams: I think that's fair. Because this is largely looking at one indicator that has been relatively easy to capture and put into a data set that can be made available, and the underlying data set from the HTTP archives. This is also used in the State of the Web report that came out last year, which had, for the first time, a really dedicated sustainability chapter.

So, in my view, I think this is really encouraging to see this and having some kind of rating systems is one way to make some of this a bit easier for people to understand. There's a couple of things that it might be worth briefly touching on for this because the actual grading is pretty, it seems pretty hard to get an A.

So if you want to have an A+, your website needs to be within the top 5% of all the websites that you have here. And, pretty much, it stops off at like E, which is around 50%. So if your website is the average, then you have a long way to go just to get up to an A, for example. And this current has been shared for feedback from people to see how people respond to this and see where they can go with some of this.

So I need to share that this is an early thing. There is a call to kind of get some more input from this and people can go to sustainablewebdesign.org to use the contact form to actually provide some feedback and share something for this. The other thing that I'll just touch on is that this isn't the only single way for understanding the environmental impact of digital tools.

There is also some work with the Green Software Foundation to come up with this metric called the Software Carbon Intensity Spec. This is one tool which is currently in use. There's also some work at the end-user side, which has been one of the contentious areas. Carbon Trust literally last night said they're doing some new work to come up with some standards for understanding and accounting for the environmental impact of end-user devices, 'cause typically this is one thing that's been very, very hard to use and they've got some large companies like Amazon and Meta already online, on board for that. So I suspect that's gonna be a thing that people see more of.

The other thing that we might share, so this is me from the small nonprofit that we work in, we did some work with the Firefox browser to essentially build some end-user carbon emissions specifically into that, and we've got a blog post that I'll share a link to this, and you mentioned ecoindex.fr, a French tool, and EcoGrader, which we've shared some links to there.

Now, as I understand it, Tim and the team at MightyBytes that worked on EcoGrader, they were involved in the creation of these digital carbon ratings. So they are involved in this. And there is an intention to kind of make this somewhat wider. But there is a tradeoff right now about saying, 'what kind of factors do you include and how easy do you make this for who to understand?' Because even just moving on from just thinking about money is quite a jump.

So when you start talking about carbon and water, and the resource depletion from the earth, and so on, it's a whole bunch of extra things which makes it really complicated. So, yeah, those are the things I might say as a response, that might provide a bit of extra context for this.

Gaël Duez: Fully agree with you here. It's really this dual approach, like, you've got communication and awareness tool, and this is super important that they are super simplistic, easy to understand, easy to grasp, because you still meet, on a daily basis, thousands of people who told you, "oh, really? My website pollutes? I wasn't aware of it. Oh, I didn't even think about it." And then on the other end, you've got web professionals who are already a bit aware of it and they, they're more like, "okay, but what, what can I do? Shall I reduce the JavaScript? Is it a question of image sizing? Is it a question of data transfer? Uh, shall I take into consideration, obviously, the obsolescence of the end-user tool?" Etc, etc. And it is a large spectrum, as you said, and we need to cover all of this. I think the main battle today is really about, you know, speaking the same language. And that will be awesome if all these tools at some point, hopefully, under the umbrella of the W3C, could agree on sustainable metrics that you, you know, kind of zoom in or zoom out, depending where you are on this scale.

And I fully agree with you that just moving away from money is a big challenge at the moment.

Chris Adams: And that actually is a nice link to the next story we had, because I was not expecting this, but this really caught my eye. So this is a story, how $1.3 billion in new contracts led Hewlett Packard Enterprise to train salespeople in sustainability so I wasn't expecting salespeople to be the kind of vanguards of sustainability in the technology sector this is basically a piece that will share a link to from greenbiz.com which is basically, it is a little bit kind of like puff piecey, but it's essentially, some folks at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, they're people whom we sell loads of service. They're basically saying, "we're training our sales team to talk about circular economies and energy efficiency and teaming them up with the sustainability team, because we found out that that's the thing that CIOs keep asking for and they're often not getting very convincing answers from this" and there's a couple of things that I thought was quite interesting is that, so salespeople typically tend to work on commission so they get a base salary and then they get a kind of chunk of their money in the form of commissions on product sales and there's a piece which talks a little bit about how they're compensating various staff for this or linking sustainability performance to compensation.

And this story talks a little bit about how the executive committee are, the compensation for them is tied to the company's performance against net zero goals. So this is something that is, in my view, kind of interesting because they're talking about things like energy efficiency, recycling content, stuff like that.

And uh, they've also shared a goal, which is they're trying to cut operational emissions by 70% by 2030. So this is relatively ambitious, but the operational emissions part might be the easy part to, actually, hang on. No, we're talking about people who make servers, that may not be the case. This very much is a case of where the big emissions tend to fall is whether it's in their supply chain or whether it's in inside the organizational boundary.

But this idea of actually building it in and actually having the salespeople talk about this gives you an idea of how, like, there is need or interest in having some shared language so that we can actually have essentially discussions outside of our little niche, basically. And I think this is something that you've got some experience with as well, Gaël, right?

Gaël Duez: Yeah, absolutely. Let me share you an anecdote. Last year, I was facilitating a digital collage online workshop for Evonex. Evonex is a pretty big IT company. They specialize in providing IT equipment, you know, to big companies and the attendees were mostly sales and marketing people scattered all over the world, I had literally people from four continents. And during the workshop, they started to get ballistic about it, like super enthusiastic, because the digital collage workshop focused a lot on embodied carbon footprints, as well as, you know, water footprint and material footprint, often called EMIPS, and they immediately could see the benefits, uh, in their sales pitch about, hey by the way, by renting equipment, by making sure that, you know, we will take care of, um, the end-of-life and we will reuse it over and over and over again, you are actually part of the, a virtuous cycle. You, you're getting closer of the much needed circular economy. And it was not even mentioned a link with their commission. It was just like, wow, that's a good sale pitch and I'm very happy to get all this valuable information because that will help me get more contracts.

Chris Adams: All right, you said something interesting about the model people are using, so basically, you're paying to have access to it rather than owning the actual tin itself, basically. That's what they're doing. Was that a trend that you saw, or was that a thing that people already are using right now in this scenario?

Gaël Duez: You know something, it's quite funny, when I started to deep dive in digital sustainability, everyone told me about the massive shift in business model which is needed from makers, like Apple, Samsung, etc, etc. And fun fact is, I started my professional career in the payment service industry. And one of my job was to run a small business unit, renting payment terminals, because, you know, when you're a merchant, In Europe, in 90% of the case, you rent your payment terminals from your bank, you know, there's kind of the absolute norms.

And the fun fact is, it provides a clear alignment of needs between banks and merchants. People want to have resilient and long lasting good bank, they don't want to have to send technicians to repair the device all the time. And you know, the truth is, everyone makes money with it, with this business model.

Because last time I checked, banks are not philanthropic institutions at all, you see. So, so I think, at some point, a shift from owning an electronic device to renting an electronic device will become more and more the norm, first in the B2B sector, and then at some point, why not, in the B2C sector as well. And that is a dramatic change because you close the loop. And when you design your product, you need to make them easily repairable and easily recyclable or reusable first.

Chris Adams: Okay. All right. Thanks for that. I didn't realize that was where you started out, actually, Gaël. You also made me think about some of the most recent announcements from Fairphone as well, because they announced recently they're pushing out a phone, the Fairphone 5, the newest one they're talking about. I believe they're talking about having a guarantee of between 8 to 10 years for a smartphone which is kind of mind blowing when you consider the kind of yearly kind of obsolescence process that you've typically seen before. We'll show a link to that because that's pretty wild and that's the thing that's quite interesting with Fairphone in this context is, they sell some of the devices but they also talk about some of the difficulties with managing both a kind of rental model where you're incentivized to kind of make sure that you capture the value and make it come back to also having a thing which allows people to kind of feel like they own it and they can fix it and they can do all these other things because different incentives come into play when you think about an entirely rental based model.

So that's something that we'll share some links for people who are interested in learning how other people are wrestling with some of this.

Gaël Duez: Yeah, I agree with you. Actually, I rent my, my Fairphone now from, from a company called Common because I really believe in this renting model, but it's more with a professional angle. Uh, and it's true that I think we need to be able to cover different needs from different people, and that's great. I mean, if you want to own your smartphone, what you've got the right to demand is to have it repairable, to have spare parts, to have, uh, accessible notice, to understand how to repair it, et cetera.

And if you want to rent it, obviously you want to be able to update the operating system and not, not to face a software obsolescence, et cetera, et cetera. So, I think it's not a one size fits all approach that we should embrace, and I think Fairphone is doing a very, very good job embracing different aspects of the spectrum.

They've got this five years guarantee on material, and now they claim eight years guarantee on software, which is mind blowing, as you say.

Chris Adams: Yeah, I'll share the link to the piece in Ars Technica which showed that, because I read it last night, and I was, when I was doing some research, I thought, wow, eight years, they've had to use a particular industrial chipset for IoT rather than consumer technology, because the assumption around consumer technology is that it won't last long enough for you to have this kind of warranty, but it's a good piece, and it really caught my eye.

All right, shall we look at the next story? Go on.

Gaël Duez: Just just just a side note Chris, you and I, we're not that young, unfortunately. So just remember that in the IT's in the 80s, sorry, just remember in the 80s, that it was very common to own for five years a piece of IT equipment. Actually, the average lifespan was close to 10 years. So, you know, it's, maybe it's getting back to what used to be normal and what used to be a sensible thing to do when you know how much energy and materials and water has been used when you build those equipments.


Chris Adams: Make it in the first place. All right, okay, that is, um, thank you for reminding me of the gray hair in my beard, Gaël, I appreciate that.

Gaël Duez: No, sorry. I don't want to be the villain in this episode, I'll stop. I was very positive here. I've got only nice things to say, and that's going to be the same for the rest of the show. Sorry.

Chris Adams: I can dream of going into becoming a silver fox, Gaël, that's my dream. All right, shall we look at the next story? Okay. So this one is from theverge.com. This says, "nearly half of environmental users went inactive after Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter took place, research finds." So this one is a story partly because there have been some questions about, okay, where do you get your news around climate these days and Twitter, and there was a real term called Climate Twitter.

The quote that I'll share with you is it's basically "almost half of environmental Twitter has vanished from the platform that's now called X, new research is showing. A wave of environmentally oriented users abandoned the site after the takeover, according to a study published this week by the journal in Trends in Ecology and Evolution."

And uh, I share this because we have seen an uptick in essentially climate denial accounts on this, but I figure this might be a nice way to talk a little bit about, okay, well where are they all going? Where do you find the news? 'cause I used to use Twitter a load to keep up with lots of news in this particular field, and I found it a bit harder and I figured, I wonder if you might be having the same experience yourself, actually, Gaël, and maybe we could talk a little bit about where we are looking instead. So if people listen to this podcast, they might find other things that catch their eye, or just talk about some other experiences of what we've seen.

Gaël Duez: I must admit that I've never loved Twitter. I tried, and just the idea of having to describe something complex, most of the time systemic issues in a few hundred words, characters, sorry, I've always struggled with it. So I was a very reluctant Twitter user, but I'm not proud to say that today I'm a very intense user of LinkedIn.

Okay, I know it's not necessarily the best platform ever, but I recall that I follow a lot of thought leaders in sustainability, in green IT, etc. on LinkedIn, and there are a lot of people doing a very decent job crafting very in depth articles, sharing resources, etc. I'm not the most happiest person on earth on the LinkedIn algorithm, obviously, so you need to do a lot of fine tuning to make sure that it's not a post about pack of wolves and how agile your organization should be. But I'm using LinkedIn quite a lot, like a million times more than Twitter. And then, of course, I use a lot of newsletters and other community. I could mention some of them if you want.

Chris Adams: Twitter's loss is LinkedIn's gain, basically, in this scenario here, yeah? So it's not particularly cool, but it is useful, and you get the information that you want to there, right?

Gaël Duez: Absolutely. And, you know, we need to take a bit of time to think and write when it's about climate change or environmental crisis. So I better like the long format that you will find most of the time on LinkedIn, rather than super short tweet and then all this ego battle, etc, etc. But don't get me wrong, you've got plenty of ego battle in the LinkedIn comments as well.

Chris Adams: Yeah, that's what I was thinking about as well. So I'll share some experiences I've had. I've been using Mastodon, probably I started using a bit more of it in maybe October, November, and I've been on mastodon.social and there are some really dedicated instances like versions of something like Twitter, so there's a Mastodon Green, which I know that quite a few people have moved to who I used to see being active on Twitter.

There's another one, climatejustice.Social that I've seen a few people being active on as well. This is one thing that's kinda nice, is that because it's federated, you see different groups that you didn't even know existing, or like little communities, that part is really kind of highlighted rather than it just being like climate Twitter, for example.

I also am experimenting with an account on a place called mastodon.energy, which is where lots and lots of really hardcore energy nerds have been moved to. So the people who I used to follow to kind of keep up with the insights there, I've seen a few people there. The thing that really surprised me though was how strong the turnout uh, on Bluesky has been for loads of climate people, so loads of the people who are not necessarily like super climate techie people, but talk about the kind of climate in the widest term, a bunch of people have moved to Bluesky, but because you need an invite to get on Bluesky, it's actually quite difficult to see any of that stuff.

And when I realized, "oh, that's where a bunch of them are," it really, really blew my mind. There's a bunch of other things that I think a kind of interesting, I haven't really used it very much yet, but this whole idea in Bluesky where you can pretty much create your own algorithms and there is an easy way for people to kind of create algorithms themselves that you might opt into to follow is interesting because there is a Greensky feed maintained by one Ketan Joshi who is a relatively well known climate writer, which is also worth looking at.

But there's also a few newsletters as well though, I think you mentioned before as well, and it might be worth just briefly talking about some of that because there's one or two that I found super helpful in this context.

Gaël Duez: Well, I'm going to mention two because in the first one, you will obviously not mention it, but the Green Software Foundation newsletter is gold. And I would say that the Climate Action Tech newsletter and community as well is gold. The Slack workspace of the Climate Action Tech community is where I find maybe 50, 60% of all my resources.

So big kudos to them. And I think it It's worth having a look at it. The issue I've got with these newsletters or these Slacks, I mean, it's not an issue, but it's, once again, all the feeds that you've mentioned, the Mastodon.green, the BlueSky, et cetera, the problem is it's very easy to fall into information bubble.

And don't get me wrong, that's very convenient. I mean, if you want to have scientifically supported information on energy transition or something very specific, ah, you don't want to enter a debate with some, you know, die hard, climate denier, whatever, et cetera. You just want to be with your, you, you know, with your people, with your folks, and then you will have a very in depth discussion.

Still, I also believe that we need to have these discussions happening in the open space. And today, this is why I was mentioning LinkedIn and some people are still using Facebook or Instagram a lot or YouTube even for these reasons that it's different because this is where like everyone is.

And this is why I believe we should still have some activities going on, on the main platforms, whether we like them or not. So it's really, I would say, two sides of the same coin. And the last one, which is very related to LinkedIn, Facebook or whatever, is where do professional people meet? And they meet in conferences.

And this is also where more and more, I mean, this is what I love when in this podcast you share at the end the link to various conferences is that in every professional conferences, we should be talking about sustainability, we should be talking about climate change, and once again, I'm going to say, instead of you, because it will sound a bit less self promoting, but the big kudos to the Green Software Foundation Speaker Bureau to make sure every professional events worldwide has access to speakers that will be able to talk about climate change, digital sustainability and all the environmental crises.

I think it's very important to be, also, where non truly aware people are.

Chris Adams: I think that's fair. I think you do need to find a balance between those two things.

So there's one thing I'll share just very quickly. We'll share a link to the cloud native sustainability landscape. That's kind of helpful in my view, because this is one place where a bunch of this research has been put into a kind of publicly accessible place and it's a nice roundup of all the stuff that's happening in this field.

We'll share a link to that. There's one story we have left and we're gonna do a quick roundup of the actual events we have coming up here. So we'll talk a little bit about patents, uh, Microsoft filing for patents around grid-aware carbon computing and ware computing specifically. Gaël, do you wanna briefly touch on this one here?

Because I think long and short of it is that we've been talking about carbon aware software for a while and there is a. peace in data center dynamics talking about how Microsoft have recently filed a patent specifically for this and I figured give a space for you to kind of provide some of your reckons on this as well because this in my view shows that okay people aren't just doing it just because it's a nice thing they think there's actually some value inside this and I think this is something that you were talking about briefly before as well.

Gaël Duez: Yeah, I totally agree with you. You know, we need to make the circular economy and soon the regenerative economy attractive for investors. So, hopefully, investors in the short future will truly embrace the triple bottom line because of new regulations or pressures from their stakeholders, whatever, etc.

But, you know, still, in the triple bottom line, there is still the planet and people, but also P, the P of prosperity, which remains so it, it will require investments to be viable. So it's a very positive sign to see climate tech being patented. Actually, I would rather have it fully open source, but this is the world where we live in.

So I think it's a very positive sign that, you know, you can make money by doing good things for the planet or the people. And the only caveat in this specific story that we shared, is making sure that the impact happens over the entire life cycle, and not only during the usage phase. So it is not that what we see sometimes, what I call climate tech distraction.

Oh, we're gonna remove CO2, but at the end, manufacturing and using the device emits more CO2 than what is removed from the atmosphere. But once again, there is a very positive trend to all this lifecycle analysis and I know that people in climate tech are more and more aware of it and take care of it.

Sometimes even multi criteria lifecycle assessments.

Chris Adams: Okay, thanks for that, Gaël. For people who are curious, we'll share a link to the article, plus the patent applications for this specifically, because yeah, I didn't know about this until seeing, "oh, that's why they're talking about a bunch of this stuff." So, Gaël, I believe there's a couple of events. Do you want to talk about the first one that's on this list?

Gaël Duez: Yeah, oh, absolutely. Apidays London, and especially the Sustainability Track. So first of all, Asim Hussain, the Green Software Executive Director, will be a keynote speaker. So I'm super proud of it. And I'll have the pleasure to host the Sustainability Track for the entire day of the 14th September, with la crème de la crème of UK green IT experts and climate activists.

And yeah, some names are pretty familiar to the people listening to the podcast, but we'll have Tom Greenwood from Wholegrain Digital, Sarah Hsu from the Green Software Foundation, Sandra Pallier from Climate Action Tech, Sandra Sido from the Climate Peach, Robert Price, Mark Butcher, Arwel Owen, and many more.

So I hope that I will see many of you there. It's a great event.

Chris Adams: Oh wow, I didn't know that Mark Butcher was on that as well actually. He's a really interesting person to follow on LinkedIn for catching some of this.

Gaël Duez: I do, I love his LinkedIn posts.

Chris Adams: Okay, alright, there's love for you, Mark, going out. Okay, the other few things I'll just draw people's attention to briefly. Cloud Native have a Sustainability Week taking place in October. This is actually a distributed remote event. There's a CFP open, so if you have a talk prepared, then there's still space to do it and it's happening all around the world.

We've shared a link for that. So there isn't, isn't one particular date that's happening in October. And then finally there's an event in November that I'll let you talk a little bit about here actually, 'cause this is one from the GSF, uh, Gaël, do you got this one?

Gaël Duez: My pleasure. So it's Decarbonize Software 2023. So it will be the 16th of November. It's an online event. And I think that the registration is open and it's really the annual event by the Green Software Foundation showcasing the advancements in green software by the community. So I'm really looking forward to watching this one because, you know, I don't know if you remember in 2022, it was an incredible event where the Green Software Foundation announced the Software Carbon Intensity Specifications, the new Linux training program, etc. And actually, if I understood well, the last week episode of the Green Software Foundation, the SCI specification is about to be ISO compliant.

So I expect some big announcement in this 2023 edition.

Chris Adams: That's good. I'm expecting some good things out of this as well, actually. Thank you, Gaël, for covering this. Gaël, this has been loads of fun. I really enjoyed you coming on, and I really appreciate you providing all the actual kind of insight that you did have for this. So, thank you again, man. It's really nice to catch up with you again, and this has been loads and loads of fun.

Gaël Duez: Thanks, Chris. Yeah, it was awesome. It was good to be on the other side of the microphone and a true honor to join your podcast, you know. I can die in peace now. I've been on the environment viables.

Chris Adams: All right, well, thank you very much for that, and... I'm going to let you go to enjoy your paradise island for the rest of the day, OK? Take care of yourself, mate.

Gaël Duez: Take care.

Chris Adams: Hey everyone, thanks for listening. Just a reminder to follow Environment Variables on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

And please, do leave a rating and review if you like what we're doing, it helps other people discover the show, and of course, we'd love to have more listeners. To find out more about the Green Software Foundation, please visit greensoftware.foundation. That's greensoftware.foundation in any browser.

Thanks again, and see you in the next episode!