Environment Variables
The Week in Green Software: Carbon Hack 24 Recap
June 13, 2024
TWiGS host Chris Adams is joined by Asim Hussain the executive director of the GSF to talk about the recent hackathon hosted by the GSF : Carbon Hack 24. Asim goes through some of his favourite projects that featured work with the Impact Framework including some surprising choices! They also cover some interesting news from the world of cloud service providers and the new CSDDD developments. Asim also talks about how mushrooms are out and bread is in!
TWiGS host Chris Adams is joined by Asim Hussain the executive director of the GSF to talk about the recent hackathon hosted by the GSF : Carbon Hack 24. Asim goes through some of his favourite projects that featured work with the Impact Framework including some surprising choices! They also cover some interesting news from the world of cloud service providers and the new CSDDD developments. Asim also talks about how mushrooms are out and bread is in!

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Asim Hussain: And I'm just sitting there thinking, we are old. These are the kids of the future, you know, maybe gave me so much hope, like these are 16 year old kids, and they were doing some incredibly advanced green software measurement, reporting, zoom, understanding curtailment, understanding like how to measure this stuff.

And I was like, ooh, we've got a, we've got a good future ahead of us.

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 Environment Variables, the podcast where we talk about sustainable software development. I'm your host, Chris Adams. This week, our format is This Week in Green Software, where rather than doing a deep dive into some of the specifics of green software, we're going to look at some of the news stories that have been making the rounds and provide a bit of commentary and analysis on this. And joining me today is my good friend Asim Hussain, the executive director of the Green Software Foundation. Asim, I'll hand over to you to introduce yourself a bit more than what I've just shared so far, if that's okay with you.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, of course. Yeah. Thanks. I really love these, having these podcast episodes with you and talking through this material. Asim Hussain, Executive Director of the Green Software Foundation and been, you know, lucky enough to be at the intersection of sustainability and software for quite a few years. So based in the UK and excited to be on the podcast again.

Chris Adams: Thank you, Asim. And when I last spoke to you on the podcast, the recurring thing is your history of growing all kinds of delicious mushrooms. How are the myco friends doing?

Asim Hussain: Not good, not good. I've lost, my green thumb or my blue thumb. Maybe if that's how you would, talk about it. But yeah, no, I've lost my, I've lost the thumb. I now bake bread is, the thing that I do, which is equally disappointing, to be honest with you. I just love doing stuff, which is like very, the people, you put a lot of effort in and then you get kind of like middling results is kind of my, seems to be my hobbies of, the day, hobbies du jour.


Chris Adams: Okay, so you've been culturing um, what's it, butter, sourdough and things like that?

Asim Hussain: Yeah, sourdough right now, yeah. I do have a sourdough starter that I, was gonna say keep refreshed, but I probably should say like, keep on the verge of starvation all the time. But yeah, no, it's actually quite fun. I make, I bake bread every weekend and I give it a go. Yeah.

Chris Adams: you for sharing that. Presumably, this is going to be carbon aware bread that you're using, that you're baking when the energy is green, because in the UK, you have the baking forecast. Are you familiar with the baking forecast?

Asim Hussain: I am not aware of the baking forecast.

Chris Adams: Ah, dude, this is so cool.

Asim Hussain: Now that you've said it, I can't believe I'm not using the baking forecast. Because it is, a lot of, that's the thing my wife questions me on. She's like, does the financials of this work out? And I'm like, I don't know, but there's healthier bread than the stuff you get in the supermarket.

Chris Adams: So for those who are curious, and I promise we will talk about green software, this is a kind of segue towards some of the ideas we might talk about later. In the UK, there is a website called the Baking Forecast, named after the shipping forecast, and the idea behind it is to look at the carbon intensity of the electricity that might be going into the oven when you're doing any kind of heating.

And this means that you can then decide to time your baking to be zero or very low carbon bread by making sure you bake when there's lots of renewable energies on the grid. Or, alternatively, if you are not paying attention, you can end up with very, high carbon bread by baking when there's lots of fossil fuels on the grid.

Now fortunately, sunnier, we've got some more solar and wind coming in, it's not like the depths of winter, so it's probably greener breaking today than it was in November or December. But yeah, this is one thing that we should, that I think is, only the UK has this right now. And we'll have to share a link in the show notes because it's a really, cool project.

Asim Hussain: That's cool. You could also end up with really high carbon bread if you leave it in the oven for too long.

Chris Adams: Oh yeah,

Asim Hussain: wait, wait. Oh my God. Where is it? Where is it? I don't know which one it is. You do it.

Chris Adams: I think I know what you're after.

Asim Hussain: Oh, there we go. Oh no.

Chris Adams: This is what you're after?

Asim Hussain: That was it.

Chris Adams: Yes, it, yeah, as, you, Asim has discovered the sound effects on the, on Riverside, the podcast platform we're using. So-

Asim Hussain: You told me about it.

Chris Adams: Yeah, I do apologize. So if we have, we might be like two children at the front of an aircraft playing with this, flip, flicking all the switches, but we'll try our best to not make listening to this too insufferable.

Okay, so we've, mentioned about the baking forecast as a way to talk about carbon aware use of electricity and things like that. Shall we look at some of the stories together, Asim?

Asim Hussain: Yeah, let's do it.

Chris Adams: Oh, if you're new to this podcast, my name is Chris Adams, or if I'm in trouble, Christopher Adams. I am the executive director of the Green Web Foundation, a small Dutch non profit focused on reaching a fossil free internet by 2030.

I'm also one of the chairs of the policy working group inside the Green Software Foundation. The other thing I'll share is that at the end of this show, we'll be showing a link with all the show notes, and it's usually written in Markdown, and we do accept pull requests, so if there's a thing that we've linked to that you think is incorrect, or if there's things you'd like to add, then it's open source and you can do that.

And I think that's the main thing I'll share. The stuff we talk about will be linked. And I guess we should probably find something to talk about then, shouldn't we?

Asim Hussain: Yeah. Something that's not bread related.

Chris Adams: Alright then, well in that case, shall we move on to, I want to make a joke about biochar, but let's just move on from, yeah, alright, so let's, focus on the first story, which is GreenOps, FinOps, and the Sustainable Cloud.

This is from, uh, I think it's actually originally from Forrester, a big analyst firm, who have now kind of woken up to this idea that If you're tracking cost, in many cases you might be tracking carbon. And this is the main thing they're talking about here. There's a few kind of key takeaways and key points inside this.

And this basically does talk about things like, say, you can reduce emissions through kind of looking at kind of existing cost bills, for example. There's different steps you can take. They talk a little bit about some of this stuff. And they also provide a very, high level idea that Right now, we do have inconsistency across the large cloud providers, so Google and Microsoft, they might report all of the emissions, or all of the emissions according to the kind of GHG protocol, which is like the gold standard of reporting, giving you scope 1, 2, and 3, where the majority of the emissions for what we do is probably in scope 3, and talking about how Amazon is doing this, and they've recently, we now know on the grapevine that they've started to rehire people.

But at present, if you look at the dashboards or the calculators of Amazon, you're only going to look at scope one and two, which on average means that you're missing a significant chunk of the picture. So that basically means if you dashboards, and you think, oh, my numbers are really low, that might not be the full story.

All right, Asim, I trust you had a chance to look over it. So are there any particular takeaways or hot takes you had on this one that you might share with us?

Asim Hussain: Well, I don't know if I had any particular hot takes is stuff I've heard before and kind of stuff I've heard mentioned kind of in quite a few times over the past few years. And what I was actually interested in is perhaps just having a more. I'd actually love to hear your thoughts and maybe we can like walk through some of the ideas and some of the question marks I have are just about the whole premise of this link to cost and carbon and like, there's a few things I think of when I think about that.

One of the things I think of is, well, isn't, the cost of things the reason why we're in this problem in the first place? You know, how can costs, how can money both be the cause of the problem and the solution to the problem at the same time? And then, like, you know, you know, yes, there is this argument that kind of reducing cost reduces carbon, there's this kind of correlation.

I've spoken about it extensively, in my past, but kind of I'm trying to refine my thinking in this space. We know that there's somewhat of a correlation there. But we also know there's things you can do which can dramatically reduce carbon, which don't affect your bottom, the cost at all in the slightest.

So what is the, how big of an opportunity is that and is therefore focusing on cost kind of distracting us from things that we can do, which can dramatically reduce our carbon that they've got nothing to do with the cost. And another thing just kind of pops up in my mind as well, which is I remember I was speaking to just the energy purchasing department at Microsoft years and years ago. And I actually asked them, can I quote, quote you on this.

Chris Adams: And this is because you worked at Microsoft.

Asim Hussain: I used to work at Microsoft. Yeah. Yeah. And a rule of thumb that they gave me was, which was the, this is pre AI, was that the cost of running a data center is only 10 percent energy. The actual dollar cost, 10 percent energy, 50 percent depreciation of assets.

So you bought some chips, and they're gonna be worth zero in five years, so they're depreciating of assets. And everything else was like, you know, people and everything else was number one. And so like, when you think about that, certain parts like that emits carbon into the atmosphere, all of those-

Chris Adams: The creation of, oh, each of these, right?

Asim Hussain: The energy emits carbon, but it's only 10%.

You know, the human beings running around emit carbon, the actual physical infrastructure like emit carbon when it's created. And then what happens in an organization is you normalize that into a dollar value, which you then charge for services that run off there. But does that dollar value, like represent, you know, accurately, you know, like the carbon emissions put it that way like there's probably a lot of nuance here yes. Reducing your cost reduces emissions, but maybe reducing costs In this way has unbelievably emissions reductions and reducing, you know, reducing $10 in another area, eh, probably doesn't have that much impact at all.

So I'm kind of a little concerned with how I don't really think the link is kind of that well understood and I'm worried a little bit that if we focus too much on cost reduction, we might be able to reduce costs in ways that have no impact on carbon emissions reductions. That's kind of like where I'm thinking about.

Chris Adams: Mm.

Asim Hussain: I was just wondering what your thoughts were, actually.

Chris Adams: So, I think there's two things. I'll share a question to that, but you said two things which I think are really interesting there. First of all, the cost of energy as, like, that's a part of what the data center might be, right? And you also said, like, depreciation of assets being one of the big costs.

And that, I'm assuming that basically means, like, I've got a server, it's going to last over, say, three or four years, and because of that I split the cost over four years, and that's how I, that's, you know, it's-

Asim Hussain: Yeah. Accounting wise that let me see exactly how they figure out accounting wise. Yeah.

Chris Adams: All right, so there are two things. Most of these discussions seem to be about energy usage, with the idea being that, I think you're right, there's totally mismatch between these two things, because we are, in many ways, we don't see any of this stuff, we don't have the visibility in a bunch of these things.

And one thing that we've, one thing that I guess we've seen a number of large companies start talking about now is saying, well, we are looking to extend the life of our servers, and we're doing this as a way, as a green measure, right? That sounds great, yeah? But if you extend the life of your servers, you've gone from 50 percent depreciation to maybe 30 percent or 40 percent depreciation, right?

I mean, from a financial point of view, that basically, I mean, Amazon did this. It put like billions onto their, on to their balance sheet because they now look way more profitable than they were before because they don't have to kind of write it off. So, yes, there are some things being shared for this but whether how that actually factors into some of the calculations people use.

I mean, I don't know. There was an announcement there. We haven't seen any changes whatsoever in any of the kind of cloud dashboards, so you would have expected that to make a difference if you did have, if we did see that, and both Amazon has done this, Google has done this, and Microsoft had done this, right?

So, I would argue that looking at calculators, there's a gap here between what we're seeing here and what we are being taught to optimize for. And there's also another question. Yeah.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, no, it, and there's also, I remember just as you were saying that, I remember this, and this is years, this is information is years old, but I was chatting to the, uh, the Xbox team at Microsoft and like one of the things, I mean, I still, no, I don't have an Xbox. I finally got rid of it. That initial estimation

Chris Adams: You sorely miss. Your love to Xbox, that is. Yeah.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, love.

Chris Adams: Oh no, you don't work for them now. You're okay. You can say anything.

Asim Hussain: I'm okay. I can, get rid of it, I think. I think. Yeah, you wouldn't get, you wouldn't get a free Xbox if you went to Microsoft, and I always thought they should give you one. But, it was, like, they assumed that it would only last, like, four, three or four years. I can't, I'm, don't quote, no one quote me on this.

But the actual lifespan of kind of these consoles turned out to be a lot longer. And people, I don't know how old Xbox is now, like, it must be like six, seven years. But it's still, like, pretty, you know, still pretty active. The decision was to kind of still keep, from an accounting perspective, still keep it kind of three, four years, even though the reality was it was being used for longer.

So those decisions are being made as well. But it's interesting that's part of the, yeah, I suppose that's part of the story we don't really, The point I'm coming from is this, is a $1 reduction in your costs, how do you link that to an actual carbon emission? Because coming back to my point of like the energy versus the embodied, like how much of the emissions is linked to the energy versus the embodied and therefore how much of your cost is linked to reducing the energy versus reducing the embodied?

Does that make sense? It's

Chris Adams: This comes to basically disclosure of cost structure, which is a bit of a kind of like jargony term but basically without having visibility into how this stuff is paid for because in many cases we have very proprietary services, it's really hard to basically, be sure, like, is this really happening?

And even when we talk about things like, say, cloud, moving to cloud compute, moving to, say, serverless, all these other tools, which are kind of higher up the stack, right? There is, it's not like the profit margins for cloud at the very bottom, like paying for compute per, on a per hour basis, will be different from things higher up.

And we don't have much in the way of visibility into any of that stuff. I mean, I, as I understand it. The higher up the stack you go, the more value you add. A bit like if you're buying refined, if you're buying oil, and then you're selling, say, refined kerosene or something like that, it's going to be a different price, right?

So you can think of, I think we have maybe some mental models we can apply for some of this. And this is actually possibly one way that you can say, well, if we have If we're running a bunch of companies, and we have a set amount of resources, and we cannot use more resources, like more inputs, there are ways to still continue to increase the amount of kind of value and profits being made by shifting people to kind of go higher up the stack to get them to purchase, maybe say, a serverless thing, or something like, something which allows you to kind of cram more stuff onto the same infrastructure.

But the problem is, In order for you to do that, you need to not build more infrastructure. And what we've just seen is the opposite of that happening right now. And I think this is what, I think you're somewhat right. It's easy to talk about cloud costs because it's, you've already got the numbers there and you don't have to, yeah.

Asim Hussain: It's like one of the most obviously disclosed, like, facts about your cloud usage is how much it's going to cost you.

Chris Adams: Yeah. And like, if you're in an organization, it's probably easier to start optimizing a number that you already have than to pay for someone to, or even pay for a solution for someone to do this stuff. Because I've invested like. We've, uh, okay, I promise we'll get back to the other stories a little bit later on, all right?

But inside the Green Web Foundation, we've been looking to, like, audit all of our own services recently, or just, like, work out our own kind of, look at our own annual emissions. And the thing we found is that, let's say we've, uh, the majority of our impact, because we're a quite small organization, comes from, not necessarily from the services we're paying for on an hourly basis, like, we use Hetzner, and we don't, Which we're spending maybe, I guess, maybe a thousand euros a year on Hetzner in total?

Asim Hussain: What's Hetzner?

Chris Adams: Hetzner is a German cloud computing service. So, about half of all of Mastodon run on Hetzner service because they're so cheap. So much cheaper, and in Europe at least. They've been one of the greener ones to use, because they build all their own software. And if you look at their prices, they're typically, like, you know how DigitalOcean will sometimes be cheaper than, say, the big cloud providers?

They are cheaper than DigitalOcean, once again. So as a result, we're a cash strapped non profit, we're going to go for the cheapest green, option we can find. And the cheapest green option that We can find that has cloud like APIs and is used and works quite well. So we've been using those ones, and as a result, cloud makes a small amount of our kind of digital estate.

What ends up being a larger thing is the infrastructure we use, like the laptops and the monitors we have inside our own houses, inside our own offices. But, even if we buy those from circular providers, so my laptop is from BackMarket, which is like a kind of second hand provider, and likewise, Hannah does the same thing with hers, and all this.

Hannah's my, she's my colleague who's been leading on this work here. We've done this, but under most of the ways there's no guidance on, okay, is it someone else's carbon? Do you know, has someone else banked it so therefore it's free for you because they've depreciated the carbon there? There isn't much in the way of guidance or real stuff that you can adopt.

Like, you can might, you might be able to sight a paper, but that's not the same as there being, say, guidance that you might use for your own reporting to say, this is why we've chosen these numbers here, for example. And like, this is what, these are some of the problems. There isn't this recognized way to account for circular versus buying new stuff, for example, and this does speak to this idea of, well, okay, how do you estimate this stuff and work out what is the most effective thing, which, you know, which levers should you be pulling if you want to reduce the emissions from software or digital services in general?

Asim Hussain: So that would be like an example of, well, yeah, cause I've even had these conversations before we're talking about like, what'd you do? I think with all these like hyperscalers, like once they actually reach end of life, they're not broken.

Chris Adams: Mm

Asim Hussain: the, equation that they're running is like, we've got per square foot of infrastructure, of real estate, what is the profitability? And at a certain point, it becomes more profitable to take out this old server, which is perfectly fine.

Chris Adams: Yeah, usable. Working.

Asim Hussain: But you can just put something else, which is more profitable per square foot for that given situation. So that, I mean, people think these things are breaking and then no, they're not, they're just perfectly fine and working.

They might be more inefficient. Then we've had like conversations in the past with, I've had people going, well, if I was to take that server. End of life server and build my own data center. Could I argue that is zero? Could I argue that it has zero embodied emissions? Is that like a reasonable statement to argue?

And, I don't know. I don't know what the answer to that question is.

Chris Adams: The question, the answer is likely to be about, oh God, this is so nerdy, mate. I'm so sorry. But like, what is the depreciation that we've just spoke about now? You said half of the cost in a data center is a depreciation. What's, how do you split that? How do you kind of, Amortize the carbon over these years and then how do you then share that with someone else?

So there's a company called Open, I think they're called Open Sesame or Sesame. They basically build data centers or like racks and stuff out of all of the, uh, Yeah, decommissioned stuff from Facebook and all these open compute projects, because all the companies, because you know how these servers are designed, and know how they're specced, it's actually quite common to buy these, and these tend to be cheaper than what you might have elsewhere.

And in many cases, it's not like, It's not like they rust, right? They really, they're, kept in kind of quite good con condition and they are working in a lot of cases, but the, they make the argument that, well, this is circular, so this is gonna be greener what you have, what you've been using elsewhere, but whether you are able, but yeah, it's, a number question.

It's an open question about how you account for that stuff inside, if you're purchasing, say, computing from these folks compared to people from somewhere else, because a lot of the time, order for in you to do this, you probably need organizations to be really transparent about where they got their servers from, and that's not always what companies are incentivized to do, basically, right now.

Asim Hussain: but then we get to that same argument of like, at the end of the day, that's going to be sold to somebody as like a dollar cost, like dollar per hour of a CPU. and if we just look at cost as a proxy for carbon, then you could argue there that will, they might have to end up selling that service at a rate that is actually quite comparable to a brand new server.

Chris Adams: Yeah.

Asim Hussain: This is where I think there's this kind of, I don't know if it's a breakdown or there just needs to be a lot more thought put into it. It's almost like there's a, that you pay a dollar value. There's a black box. And then at the other end, we know there's some sort of carbon emissions. And I think there's a lot of nuance there.

And maybe what I'm saying is that actually cost isn't a great proxy for carbon. Because really, maybe that is, I'm kind of refining my thinking as I'm talking to you. Maybe cost isn't a great proxy for carbon. Or maybe you put it this way. Three, four, five years ago I was advocating for it because we had nothing else.

Chris Adams: Mm.

Asim Hussain: There were so few other options, but I'd actually argue now, we have the capacity and capability, even if a cloud provider, somebody themselves don't even know what the carbon emissions are. There are models that now exist where you can estimate from what you can see about. But the infrastructure that you're using and make your own assumptions and make your own judgments as to what the carbon emissions are.

So I think I suppose where I'm thinking now is we can actually move beyond costs. I suppose that's where I'm thinking.

Chris Adams: Well, the thing I might share with you, and if you forgive the plug, so I've just been travelling all around Western Europe by train, and I literally started on the 31st of May, and I arrived at this conference called DjangoCon, which is a conference all around DjangoCon, Django, which is a very popular framework that initially powered, say, Instagram, and like, part of the NHS website, all this stuff here, yeah.

Asim Hussain: I used to be a Django developer. That was like my job. Yeah. My job, my paid for profession for quite a few years was a Django developer.

Chris Adams: Wow, I did not know that. Okay, no, that's a, okay, that's a story I'm going to use then, because I think we can bring this back to the cross thing for a second. Anyway, I did a talk, I, there was very short notice, I was going to deliver a workshop about how to, basically, how to use some of the tools available to kind of green your Django stack.

Right, so we were using a tool called Green Metrics Tool, which as Ana, one of the, like, I guess the founder of this, the guy who, the lead maintainer, he says the name is descriptive more than creative, but you kind of know what it's for, right? I quite like that. Anyway, that does give you figures for energy usage and embodied carbon and it does provide these and even provides like SCI figures. So there's now like a workshop and a deck and I will show a link to it to see how you can take an existing project and come up with SCI figures for various user journeys and things that you do have. Asim, I didn't have time to talk about the Impact Framework, and I, once I know enough about the Impact Framework, I'd be really up for using it.

But one of the key things I had to do was I was doing this workshop and then literally the day before I arrived, we had someone with a visa problem, so they couldn't do their talk. So basically the organizers asked me, said, Chris, are you, do you have a talk ready or are you, would you be up for filling this spot?

We have a 30 minute slot to talk about this. And I basically had 24 hours to take the workshop, turn it into a presentation. And the thing, the reason I'm talking about this is that I presented a kind of taxonomy of ways to think about these tools that you have. And I described things in terms of usage based and cost based specifically for this reason.

So you would use cost based tools to do your first round of disclosure or to work out like a baseline because until you, and until you've been able to demonstrate any value from doing this, it's going to be really hard to argue for like weeks of developer time to come up with some numbers. Right?

Whereas this at least gives you a number that you do have. And then I spoke about how you would use usage based tools to start figuring out, okay, well, what changes can I make to reduce some of this stuff? And yeah, I'll share the link to the deck, because it's, it allows us to create the, you know, we need, like, taxonomies to realize that we're not conflating these ideas too much.

Because a lot of the time, you're doing different jobs, and you're asking, you're being asked by different people. So, like, for example, the whole kind of Software Carbon Intensity thing, initially, it was, as I understand it was created partly because the sustainability, like the head of sustainability asks for some numbers, and if you're going to report along these numbers, you don't really see much in the way of incentives to show how you're changing in future, right?

it doesn't incentivize changes at the engineering level.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Chris Adams: right? So therefore you need a, you know, one of the thrusts would say, well, let's come up with a metric to show that we are planning forward. And we're taking some steps so that if you're an engineer, you have an idea of what's, what, you can do rather than just outsourcing all to energy procurement, because that-

Asim Hussain: Yeah,

Chris Adams: isn't necessarily the full solution, for example.

Asim Hussain: I mean, the way, I mean, I really love your taxonomy of cost based versus user based. I think that, yeah, I like that actually. And user based being more, perhaps more, more granular and more action. Cause it kind of gives you more, more specific things you can do. Whereas cost is like this really high level thing.

Just to bring it back to what you said about the SCI, the, one of the things, And I really, I didn't coin this, uh, but when it was coined, I loved it, but they described it as measurement for reporting versus measurement for action. And that's, I think, an interesting way of looking at kind of the different measures, uh, in this space.

And, you know, we talk about regulations. We need to talk about regulation. We want regulations a lot, but once you start talking about regulations, the measure that you have is a measurement for reporting and the, behavior it triggers is what, number can I disclose that I can defend? What can I defend? Whereas a measurement for action is kind of what number do I need to drive action change. And that's when we think about the SCI, it's a measurement for action. I don't know whether, where, it will need to land to be something, you know, to be, you know, To be, you know, defensible.

Like, I don't know why I'm gonna go off on a massive tangent right now, but-

Chris Adams: Go with it, let's go with it.

Asim Hussain: Go with it. Let's go with it. We know Krav Maga. You know Krav Maga?

Chris Adams: Wow, yeah, the Israeli martial art you're talking about?

Asim Hussain: The Israeli martial art. Like, I've always, there's actually a place nearby and I've always wanted to learn.

Chris Adams: I did not expect you to go in that direction, let's go with

Asim Hussain: Well, but let's just go with it.

Because here's an interesting thing about it. And one of the things that the founder of Krav Maga said, this is will never be allowed to be done in like a competitive environment. There will never be the world championship of Krav Maga. There will never be like this, you know, global Krav Maga, blah, blah, blah.

Because by, by that's when you start bringing in rules and the actual nature of the sport changes. So it doesn't become good at what it's supposed to do.

Chris Adams: Ah, yeah, so for people who are not familiar, Krav Maga is, it's like, oh, it's like punch him in the love spuds and all the stuff like that. It does all the kinds of things which you wouldn't do in a, kind of formalized mode, because they are, they're basically weapons of war, rather than actually weapons of art, right?

So it's more like, there's more martial than the art part, perhaps.

Asim Hussain: I mean if I'm gonna learn a martial art, it's gonna be there so I can like actually get out of trouble, so I don't mind like poking somebody in the eye or kicking them where they shouldn't be kicked.

But like, but I think that might, that's just one of my thinking and I'm, and I, this is just my thinking and this is a consensus based organization, so I just want to really be clear that I'm just expressing kind of some thoughts have and they might change in the future as well. You know, can you have both things?

Can you have a measure which is good for action and good for reporting? Or does, you know, as soon as you bring a regulation into a measure, does it then transform the nature of it, so it, you know, it doesn't become good as an action driving measure and it can only serve as a , as a measure for reporting.

That's kind of some of the thinking we've gone, I don't know how we got to this.

Chris Adams: No, this is a graceful segue into the next story, Asim, don't worry. All

Asim Hussain: But yeah, that, that's some of the thinking I had.

Chris Adams: I don't have a, I won't try to directly answer that, but what I will do is name check the new story, the next story we have, which is from Linklaters, the law firm, and they talk about, so this is going to be a bit of jargon.

Asim Hussain: Oh, yeah.

Chris Adams: I'm afraid, so this is a, this was a new story from actually a few weeks back, say, the new CSDDD compromise finally accepted by member states.

That is impenetrable to most people who are programmers, but the short version is that there is a piece of law. called, we already have a piece of law called the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which is a bit like, which essentially compels organizations of a certain size to disclose their carbon emissions on an annual basis, just like they disclose their financial things and their financial figures.

Different parts of the European Union are now, okay, for want subclassing the directive and turning it into their own law, right? So, France has been the first of the countries in Europe to actually do this. And Egalité, CSAD, yeah, like, they have a really hardcore version of the law, where if you are a corporate director, and you don't disclose, and you take steps to block disclosure, You have jail, you know, there are jail time sentences and stuff like that now.

There's some really, hardcore things, right? And that's like the disclosure thing. But the thing that's interesting is that this plays nicely with this new law, which is the Corporate Sustainable, Corporate, I think it's Corporate Supply Chain Due Diligence Directive. And this introduced some new demands.

So you basically need to like, as you'd imagine, Have some due diligence in your supply chain, but they also need to demonstrate how this fits into some of the laws or some of the kind of longer term goals of being a company active in, like Europe, where Europe has set targets of saying, well, you need to reduce emissions by, you know, we aim as a kind of union to reduce emissions by 55 percent and who knows, maybe even 90 percent by 2040.

And as a result, you know, you now have to publish a climate transition plan, which shows what your steps are to actually help get there. And, uh, this I think is interesting because this now means that you have basically a mechanism for accountability each year, I mean, kind of anyway, but you've also got something to show that you're looking forward.

So you've got forward looking and backward looking. And I think this is quite helpful for the conversations around, say, a consequential model like The Software Carbon Intensity thing, plus some of the kind of somewhat backward looking models that you might have with the GHG. And I think the GHG protocol, and this is how I now think about this, you will say that you might use the SCI to plan forward and say, well, am I going to do this versus that?

And that allows me to talk about, it's not just my organization, like, uh, are there places where impact is taking place where I don't have to put it on my books, but I know it's a significant problem, right? Because the current state of the law doesn't actually incentivize you to do that. And, uh, particularly if you're like, say, a media company, for example, where, you know, most of the impact is in a router in someone's home, or in someone's end user device, like their big ass television, you might not try and tell someone.

Hey, can you please stop using your big ass television and use a, tablet, right? Yeah, you might do that, but like, it's, that's going to be a hard thing for you to kind of argue is inside your kind of organizational boundary, for example, for, reporting. So this is why having two ways of looking at this is actually quite helpful.

And this is how I've expressed the difference between an SCI and the GHG protocol. The fact that they are complimentary to each other, but very but different.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, and I think that's, I never meant to throw shade on any kind of measurement for reporting, like it's all, needed. it's just different audiences. It's just different audiences, different needs, different, other things. So would you say the CSDDD is, because I just think the way you just described it, there's, it's, different to how some of the ways I've heard it described, but the, does it go beyond the organizational boundary?

So the climate transition plan that you have to expose, is it how it supports the EU's aggregate goal, or is it just how you, your organization plays, how its emissions has to reduce? Because if, it's an aggregate goal, then the kind of debate that you're just describing, which is like, I'm making my TV more efficient, but who cares? It's not part of my or something. That's not part of my effectively changing Help showing how you're helping the climate transition by things outside of your value chain.

Chris Adams: I need to stress, I'm not a lawyer. All right. Okay. And uh, I think I see, I think you mentioned that there might be someone who is a lawyer who does look at this, that I think it would be really nice to have someone who, with that deeper domain expertise to kind of talk about this 'cause. I'm mindful that because I have an English accent, it sounds like I know what I, that I am confident and, uh, about what I'm talking about when I might not be that well informed.

Asim Hussain: In a lot of you're very well informed in a lot of areas. But anyway, yeah.

Chris Adams: Alright. So yeah, I'm definitely not a lawyer in this con in, this context. Uh, but the, I guess the key, you know, your question is do you use 'em differently and would you be, I mean, is that the question that you had? Like, uh, uh, is that, maybe you could just repeat that to make sure I understand the question.

Asim Hussain: Well, I think it's interesting. I think it's, I think, because a lot of these questions are kind of like insular to an organization. Like what are you doing? What's your organization? How is your organization reducing its own like emissions? And then the conversation is basically coached around, "well, that's not my problem. That's not me. I, even though you could do something materially to reduce those emissions, it's just not part of my value chain. So I'm not going to be focused in on it." Is it, I presume because it's a business reporting directive. It is kind of very much like how, like you've, made, how are you as an organization going to your emissions in line with the EU's target by 2040?

Chris Adams: So, okay. That's, yeah. I think I understand your question now. So, uh, as I'm aware so far. The CSDDD is basically, they're still all focused very much on your own organization, right? So it, I think most of the supply chain due diligence part is about your upstream, right? Not necessarily so much stuff that you have downstream, for example.

So, you know, you might talk about who you purchase things from, but it might not be about to what extent am I incentivizing or am I accelerating the production of fossil fuels, for example, right? So right now, let's say, when we saw this, when we saw, I think Will Alpine, you know, he was a guest before, and so, so, so, so, so he mentioned this a while ago, and I think way, way back in the first or second episode.

He spoke about, okay, we need to be doing, you know, we, need to be using, we need to be responsible for our use of AI. Yes, we need to think about the green part, but we also think about these parts elsewhere. He's been like really, he's been leading on a bunch of this stuff and talking about this. Yeah.

Yeah. So, the yes.

Asim Hussain: Scope 4, he got me onto the idea of scope 4 emissions, which is like Very interesting.

Chris Adams: Yeah, so he, so like, he's been talking about this in quite kind of clear ways for quite some time. So, the scope 4 stuff that you've just mentioned, don't know to what extent that's actually included in this right now. But if you're talking about your plan, it's likely that if you're going to have a transition plan, you probably would have very good reasons to talk about what your transition plan looks like because you're helping transition the entire economy.

So it may be that you might refer to this, but this is where I'm outside of my kind of comfort zone, basically.

Asim Hussain: We can, lobby right now for what we'd want. I mean, what the ideal solution I would say is not lobby. That's the wrong word. We don't, do lobbying, but you know, you know, There is this overall aggregate goal that we need to achieve. And that's it. I love this. It was Henry Richardson that said that.

I remember it so specifically. I know the person that said it. And I know in what meeting they said it. was such a great statement. We were talking about the SCI. And we were talking about this whole idea of double counting. You know, double counting, when it comes to reportings and all this stuff, it's so significant because you're an organization.

You don't want to, you know, You don't want to be responsible for somebody else's emissions. You don't want double counting. But he said, actually. As a humanity, we want double counting because what does double counting mean? Double counting means that there's more than one person incentivized to reduce that emissions, right?

That's, the advantage somewhat of double counting. And actually, if you think of scope 3 in a way is double, counting across the board because somebody's scope 1 and 2 is somebody else's scope 3. But I actually completely forgot where I was gonna go with this.

Chris Adams: I'll try and rescue Asim before we move to the next story. So, we were talking a little bit about, and bring it back to digital services, right? The, so, I can't name the organization that we did some of this work for, but we were talking about a large media company, we were talking with a large media company, and we were helping them understand this, because some of the jargon, I'm afraid, that people use for this is like an attributional approach, which is like, are they my emissions? Versus a consequential approach, which is, do these emissions, you know, is this activity going to increase or reduce emissions? And when you're looking at media, for example, essentially, if you look at the attributional part and the GSG protocol, what you have to report on, right, you are incentivized to care about the data center more than anything else, right?

Because that's kind of inside your boundary at the moment, or what. Most organizations report as their boundary, right? Not every organization. But if you were to look at the consequential approach, you'd be looking at, yeah, all the things mentioned before. And like, the, this is quite a significant thing because for consuming digital media for consumers, the data center's making, Less than 10 percent, right?

It's tiny compared to the, well, the energy use at least of the, yeah, and uh, if you look at the energy use, it's going to be, you know, more than two thirds is coming from all the stuff at the end users, which is outside of your, you know, it's not on your book, so why would you care right now?

Asim Hussain: Well, it's an externality in a way, isn't it? Yeah.

Chris Adams: So this is, this is why I think it's interesting to see these two things have some interplay, and we, I think we need some wording for this right now.

Like, the one I'm trying to popularize is, you have climate disclosure, Which is one of my missions. And then there's climate response. What was my plan to reduce this? Right? Climate disclosure, you want your missions to be small. Your climate response, you want it to be really big. really, like, massive and ambitious and, like, loud and everything like that.

And that's what I think you can get behind.

Asim Hussain: But I think that's what Scope 4, that's why I think Scope 4 is a really interesting concept. It is, I've forgotten how it's defined exactly, but you know, things like your response, like things that you are doing outside of anything to do with making money or products, like that is what's counted in Scope 4.

But also it's like the impact you're having, the impact your, business and the work that you're doing is having on the fundamental problem of climate change. So, i. e. like, if you're enabling something which helps people to find another oil reserve, that's a massive scope for. That would like overshadow anything that you're producing in this world.

But scope for could also be negative, because if you're doing lots of work that actually sucks out carbon from the atmosphere. You can actually have a, like a, scope four, which a note, scope one, two, three, can't be negative, like, unless you're not doing, unless you're just not breathing or just sitting very still, but like, it can't be, but scope four could potentially be positive or negative and it shows your, like, how you, really like impacting the world, like.

Chris Adams: Yeah, so the thing we could possibly link to, I'm going to add to the show notes the episode we did, the podcast episode, which was all about AI and ML impacting climate change way, way, back in the day, I think June 13th. Oh wow, it's literally two years ago.

Asim Hussain: Is it two years?

Chris Adams: Yeah, we're recording on June 12th.

Asim Hussain: About AI?!.

Chris Adams: No, we've spoken about it before, but this is the, this is one I'm really, actually, I really loved this one. This was recorded on June the 13th, and this included, it was Abhishek Gupta, who's now, like, inside CAT, inside Climate Action Tech, which is a community that we're both part of. He's being funded on a micro grant to come up with some sustainable AI principles, but Will, Will Alpine, he, well, Will Buchanan is what he, before he got married, he was called Will Buchanan.

He mentioned a bunch of this stuff. And we also have Lynn Kaack, who was one of the co founders of Climate Change AI, which is another one of the really, in my view, really fantastic organizations who have real authority in talking about that. They mentioned a bunch of this stuff, so if you want to know a bit more about AI, look at these things from two years ago, because a lot of that still stands, and it's very, it's, I, learned so much from that one, basically.

So yes.

Asim Hussain: I get pinged by organizations all the time going, "oh, we want to talk about, or media, we want to talk about AI and, oh, AI and sustainability is suddenly a problem." And I'm like, we've been talking about it for a long time, like well before chat GPT came on the market as AI being a, hot topic of conversation in sustainability circles.

Chris Adams: Well, maybe the thing we should also link to in then Asim is, A, there's, so the GSF has actually started to endorse some existing legislation in America, to make this a bit clearer. But also, in Europe, I think something like a million and a half or a million euros, there was a tender a few years ago, to basically start researching some of this stuff that you might refer to as Scope 4, basically.

Like Scope 4 is, it's an idea, but it's not, there's no standard around it right now. So there was some work there to start looking at. This to see how you might quantify the positive and negative impacts of various steps. Now, because you've got, this was funded by the Green Digital Coalition explicitly to kind of measure the positive impacts, it's not surprising that every single intervention is only positive.

So it's not like there's a methodology for talking, oh, if we use AI to extract oil and gas, does this mean that we've, you know, there is nothing like that. And I would be very happy to see something like that because those climate emergency, see all this stuff here, right?

Asim Hussain: Well, that's one of the reasons I was thinking about this recently is kind of where we're starting to, well, we've somewhat measured our emissions. I'm starting to like, now that we're growing, right.

Chris Adams: This is the GSF you're about?

Asim Hussain: GSF. Yeah. And I suppose the green web is the same, isn't it? Like if you were to employ just one more person, your emissions would jump up significantly.

And so like, how do you meaning, meaningfully have a plan? Or what do you even say when you're like a very small organization that's just growing? Like, I mean, forget if you're

Chris Adams: If you hire five people, you've doubled your

Asim Hussain: have like you've doubled your emissions and you've set yourself a target to reduce that, what does that really mean?

And I think for, especially for organizations like you and me, like Green Web and Green Software, like if there was a scope for, our scope for is significant. Because the activities that we do as an organization, I don't mean scope 4, our negative scope 4's are significant. Because the act, us existing, arguably, hopefully, reduce the overall emissions of the world.

And so in a way you could, you know, it'd be interesting to look at organizations from their scope 4, because then you're investing in kind of a different component. There could be like startups out there who aren't like in the green software space, but have a negative, if you have a negative scope 4.

The more you grow, the more emissions get reduced from the atmosphere. It's interesting.

Chris Adams: I'm I'll be honest, dude, I'm a little bit I'm sceptical of this scope 4 idea because it very much, when I've seen people talk about it, they use it as a way to either say well this is why it's okay for us to deal with these really damaging things elsewhere, right, it's used to basically draw attention away from other things, or I just don't think like It's not, it's never going to balance out.

It's okay for things to be like, orthogonal, in two different, moving along two different axes, right? And I think it, that makes more sense. What you can do instead, is actually be responsible about the impact that you do actually have. And the, there's a, an approach used by the New Climate Institute, who I think, which I think is really interesting.

What they do, they basically say, look, We're a small non profit, our job is to be at, say, COP 28, 29, 26 or something and essentially work with policy makers to set the rules that end up impacting, influencing ginormous organizations that are way, larger than us. And what they do instead, they basically say, well, we have to fly there, we have to do something like this, we're going to impose an internal cost of maybe 100 euros per ton that we put into a kind of, I forget the term they use, Let's just call it a carbon war chest, right?

A climate war chest. And then they use that to fund other systemically effective things. And, like, this feels like a much more sensible way to do it. And this dude, like, dude, like, you know how the GSF, where the GSF came from, right? The funding for the GSF came from the internal carbon levy inside Microsoft.

You told me this before.

Asim Hussain: Well, actually, no,

Chris Adams: Oh,

Asim Hussain: I didn't, get there. No, there is an internal carbon levy in Microsoft, which is then used, to fund green measures but the actual, like, technically the money from this actually came from a different bucket.

Chris Adams: Ah, dude, I, ah, that would have been such a good story.

Asim Hussain: It's unfortunately not a good story, yeah.

Will Alpine, a lot of his work he did at Microsoft was actually funded from that war chest. He knew how to navigate that space and get money from that war chest.

Chris Adams: So this feels like a more sensible way to do it, right? The idea of saying, well, you're not trying to say, you're not trying to get back into eco heaven, you're being an adult about the emissions, and about that there is an impact being caused, and then you're talking about, well, what is the way that I can do it, which doesn't give you my sugar rush of saying, I'm carbon neutral again, but says, well, we have a societal goal to get to, so let's think about it in that sense.

I'm, this was, I mean, Microsoft is using an internal carbon price. It's not the same as a carbon tax, but it does revolve like, it's a discussion about how you allocate time and money to projects, rather.

Asim Hussain: It's a tax because different departments have to pay different amounts depending on how much carbon they've been deemed to have omitted. So it is kind of like a tax.

Chris Adams: Yes, this is something we can-

We don't want to use the word tax? Oh, is this another topic?

It's not so much that, it's, I mean, it's more that, yeah, you might not want to use the word tax in various places, because certain people are in favor of tax, certain people are not in favor of tax, right? And like, there are loads of ways where people allocate funds to various things inside this.

I mean, like, there's a reason inside Microsoft they use it, they called it a levy, right?

Asim Hussain: Oh yeah.

Chris Adams: But like, we, you know, there are loads of places where we allocate a percentage of some funds to funding something else. So this is why I've stayed away from using the term tax inside this, because in the way I see it, governments get to levy taxes, they get to like raise taxes and stuff like that, but organizations don't necessarily, and there are loads of cases where if you're inside an organization, you're going to allocate this much to kind of keeping your staff happy.

Is that a staff happiness tax? Or if I'm paying for cloud, right, and it's a chunk of my, let's say I'm building a digital service and I'm paying Amazon a chunk, or Microsoft, is that a Microsoft tax? I'm not sure it is. It's, I'm paying for something, right? Yeah.

Asim Hussain: Good point. Now that you've said the word tax like five times, every time you said it, I get a-

Chris Adams: You, sir, have said the word tax. I have not used the word tax at all.

Asim Hussain: Have you not? Okay. Well, I think it, I think anyway.

Chris Adams: I talk about internal, I talk about internal carbon pricing, because this is internalizing the costs that are otherwise being shifted onto society, and that seems a kind of economic and kind of grown up way to think about this.

Asim Hussain: Yeah.

Chris Adams: Yeah, uh, yeah, I'm not using that word either for very good reason, because there's another thing. Anyway, we've totally gone off script. This has been fun, though. Let's, should we go back to where we are? So we were going to talk about CarbonHack, some of the aftermath and learning points from that before we wrap up.

So are there any particular projects? So maybe it might be worth you just briefly summarizing what CarbonHack actually was, and then maybe if we talk about one or two projects. So, two projects that really caught your eye, then we can wrap up after that because we've this, has been, this was going to be a short, one and we're running about 50 minutes already, basically.

Asim Hussain: That's okay. People must have some long journeys ahead of them. Summer holidays coming along. Yeah, no, it was really good. So CarbonHack this year, we focused on Impact Framework, but more specifically focused around measuring, like how do we actually measure software, so it's really exciting. So, I'm really excited to be here where we can actually talk about this.

So, really quickly, Impact Framework is a framework that we've been building here to a very low level. You can measure, print, kind of most things with it, but also provide that evidence of the measurement in this impact manifest file. So there's a couple of, we had a couple of prizes. We had the ones I was very excited about.

I was inspired by all of them, to be honest with you. But the one I was really keen to see what people It was we just threw it out there. We were like, well, let's just see how people respond to this one. And it was beyond carbon. Because we've talked about carbon all the way through this episode.

But, you know, as we know, the sustainability challenge we had to have ahead of us is actually far bigger than just carbon. And we just left it fairly open. Kind of anything that kind of measures the environmental impacts beyond carbon was effectively it. And there was some really interesting submissions.

Like the one that won was, as we might guess, like water, like they, they measured the impact of water. And it also triggered some like really interesting conversations around, you know, the, I know there's been some research in this space, but like, at what level are you measuring it? Are you measuring the water impact?

Like at the data center? Kind of like primary. Primary and secondary, primary water and secondary water kind of was like the concept and it was just exciting. But now, what that means now is that there's now a plugin for Impact Framework where you can just, there's actually two, but you can drop it in and just say like, I just want to estimate my water impacts of my workload.

You can just drop it in and do it. Another, team was from a team called Grasp and I loved it because, you know, one of the things that plugin measures. Actually does a couple of different beyond carbon categories, but the three main ones are death.

Chris Adams: Okay.

Asim Hussain: Premature death, social cost of carbon, plus a dollar value on like the carbon emissions and displacement, which is kind of interesting as well.

Like how many people and all this stuff is like one of the, you have to submit like citations and research to prove and evidence kind of where these numbers are coming from. But yeah, you know, like social cost of carbon, we know like what is the cost of carbon as we take it down through the generations and, you know, all this other stuff

Chris Adams: So that's the harm caused by, on society, by the people, right? And like, this is what the, that was 50 under Barack Obama's time in America, went down to 1.

Asim Hussain: No, I think it's two.

Chris Adams: or 2, and then that's gone up to 190 now. No, I think it's actually back to 50. But there, I think the, it's now shifted to a very, a much, Like, fourfold increase, or nearly a fourfold increase in the US, for example.

But this is like, and in Europe it's around 100 right now, that's the figure.

Asim Hussain: I don't, yeah. I don't believe they use what Biden decided and wrote on an exec. It's it was more, more from research.

Chris Adams: Oh, I'm not saying that's like, that's not Biden saying this, that's like, the group who was allocated to do this work, these are the things they've recommended for this. And that's how they've, that's what the number looks like is being mentioned. I'll share a link to that as well, actually, because that's actually This is, really helpful for the internal carbon pricing stuff we discussed before.

If you're going to think about, okay, how do I create a carbon war chest to fund the work like Will Alpine did, or founding an organization, or doing any kind of systemic work. Yes.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, but I think that's kind of like where it's interesting. cause you know, sometimes I do feel that. We sanitize this conversation too much. Like it's too sanitized. Like we talk about carbon, we talk about this, talk about that. But actually, the reason why we're here is this is there's a lot of human suffering that is happening and will increasingly happen because of the work that we're doing and the work. There is, that value in this whole, whole question.

Are you trying to like add a cost to carbon? How many people will likely be displaced because of rising sea levels

Chris Adams: Always like climate migration being informed.

Asim Hussain: Climate migration. Yeah. so like, and of course there's also research which talks about what is the increased death rate, you know, You have to look at kind of, not just carbon emissions, but air quality and things like that.

So there's these, so these are the impacts. I mean, I, and I know it's kind of, it can be hard for some people to swallow, but it is, you know, something I think about a lot. I actually have a big skull next to me. It's like, I'm very stoic.

Chris Adams: You are full of surprises. Wow, you've got kind of Shakespearean kind of Wow.

Asim Hussain: A little

Chris Adams: Alas, poor Yorick. Wow. I did not see that coming at all.

Asim Hussain: Well, you, it's a stoicism thing.

It's like, if you, contemplate death a lot, you, live life more. But those are two, two, two, two really good plugins there. But there's just been, it's hard to like really pick up on the rest. There's some really good work done to using Impact Framework, not as like, not building a plugin for it, but just leveraging it to examine what the emissions of machine learning is.

 And the important thing about that is, is the output of it is this kind of very standardized manifest file, which anybody can read. You're

Chris Adams: Like an auditable or repeatable

Asim Hussain: audible, readable, and you're just reading this manifest file. And as soon as you look at this manifest file, if you know now how to read these manifest files, you can go, Okay.

So, straight away, I know you did this, you used that coefficient. I get the kind of measurement that you are. I can, that's an interesting number you generated. So that's one of the things we want to drive from it. And the best, yeah, there's some great work from, I've forgotten the name of the team now.

But the, they did work on the, trying to figure out the, using impact frame in a very In a usual way, which is like in logistics, can you drive, can you create a manifest file which represents the emissions of like a fleet of cars, like delivering Amazon packages all over? Can there be a manifest file for that?

And, uh, I think the winner was they built, it's called green. Oh, no, I want to mention two other teams and they both got the same name, which is very confusing in the hackathon. Find a called green and meet green. Oh, I forgot the actual name of the team. It was green something, but they, uh, they built Kubernetes.

So an interface into Kubernetes and the reason why it won, it was just like Kubernetes is so ubiquitous on the internet. And now if you've got, and it wasn't using, there was a separate one for Kepler, but this is very specifically for Kubernetes, independence of Kepler, taking the observations from there.

And you can compute the, environmental impact of that. And I think, actually, I shouldn't have mentioned it, that my favorite solution was a team called Greener Meet. My absolute, I all, I'm sorry, all of the rest of you, you all weren't my favorite solution. My favorite solution was a team called Greener Meet.

Chris Adams: Green Me, as in, like, Greener You, Greener Me, or Greenami, like Konami?

Asim Hussain: Greener Meet, as in having a meeting.

Chris Adams: Oh, Greener Meet, as in zoom, not like.

Asim Hussain: Zoom. And it was exactly

Chris Adams: Okay.

Asim Hussain: And we had an under 18s prize, which we really spent a long time with lawyers trying to figure out, can we do an under 18s prize? But we managed to get one together. And it was a team of 16 year olds from school in California.

And they created, they used the Impact Framework to actually measure The environmental impact of Zoom. So they literally like they, they got Python libraries. They, ran Zoom calls. They could get the utilization. They compared it to Watttime and they even found they were like, they even switched on and off features of Zoom to show like how that changed the emissions profile of your call.

And even I loved it. They found a curtailment that they were having a meeting and cause they're in CAISO. They

Chris Adams: CAISO being Californian Independent Systems Operator.

Asim Hussain: I knew you'd know that.

Chris Adams: And that's basically the grid operators in California you're talking about.

Asim Hussain: And California has a lot of renewables, as you know, so they had a moment in the meeting where they curtailed, which means that the emissions are effectively zero for the call now because they're factoring that in.

It was really good work, and we tried to give them the prize on the call. They, we were delayed. They had to go to class. So we couldn't give the kids the prize, and if we can, maybe we can bring them on this podcast. I'd love to speak to them. I just, it gave me such, honestly, you watch this, And I'm sorry to the rest of the prize winners, but I think this was the best video.

It was the best presented. And I'm just sitting there thinking, these are the, now we're going to, now we're going to, " the kids of today!" - we are old. These are the kids of the future. You know, maybe it gave me so much hope, like these are 16 year old kids and they were doing some incredibly advanced green software, measurement, reporting, zoom, understanding curtailment, understanding like how to measure this stuff.

And I was like, ooh, we've got a, we've got a good future ahead of us. I think, I don't think, yeah.

Chris Adams: Asim, this sounds really cool, but I have to ask, right, why are we relying on a bunch of literal children to do this work when Zoom is a multi billion dollar publicly traded company that does have to report on its own figures like this, and they are doing, Zoom doesn't expose these numbers themselves, right?

Like they will tell you how much you've saved, but you can't see the figures from this. We're relying on children to do the work of essentially publicly traded companies here, right? Right. This feels like a, we, I think this is really, cool. But this has an open question about what they would do maybe Zoom or they might join an organi organization like the GSF and say, well, this is how we do measure this stuff. And, uh, 'cause if not, I think we might need to refer to the work of children until that happens. Because this is just like, I mean, if, this embarrasses them to actually being more transparent about how this is being used, I think, we should be doing it because it's kind of bonkers that you are relying, like, it's nice to have like youth of today, but one of these groups has literally access to billions of dollars of capital and one of these groups is doing it in their spare time and couldn't even accept the thing because they had to leave for class. Yeah.

Asim Hussain: For class. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's a fair point. But at the same time, I mean, I want to counter your point for a second as well. I mean, I'm, you know, I have multiple views. Like, do you really want to be waiting all the time? Like, we're just waiting all the time. We're just sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting, for everybody to be transparent about all of their emissions all the time.

If we can just take that power back into our hands, And we why not wait for people to be transparent, but actually like, look, this is a model that I've created. I think this is the emissions profile of your product. I'm going to publish it. If you feel somewhat different, that's the beauty of open source.

If you feel somewhat different, create a pull request and be, as transparent as me. I think in a way we, it is good. That we're leading the way, it is good that the kids are leading that way in the future because it kind of brings power back into our hands, if that makes sense.

Chris Adams: I think what it sounds like you're suggesting is in the absence of information, it might be worth using the age old internet trick of ask a question on Stack Overflow, answer it with an incorrect answer, then hope that people will actually come up with better answers, because that's the tried and tested way to get a good answer on Stack Overflow.

You answer it incorrectly, then someone goes, no, you're getting it wrong. Now I'm doing it, because they're so incensed that someone is wrong on the internet. So this basically, I think what we can use that, we can harness this natural resource and we can say, we're only going to use the worker of these children, and we're for talking about Zoom calls until someone comes in with actual better figures and ideally the organizations with full access to this, like maybe Zoom themselves, or maybe a competitor of Zoom.

So if you'd like to do this, I'm chris@greenweb.org, no, I'm very happy to have this conversation because this does feel like it's necessary. Anyway, oh, blimey, I've just seen the time. Asim, we've, gone a bit over, but this has been really, fun and,

Asim Hussain: Yeah. It has been!

Chris Adams: I, this is, We've got another one of these in a few weeks time.

So, Asim, really lovely chatting with you, nice to catch up, and sorry to hear about the mushrooms, but I guess the Mushroom Kingdom's loss is the Bread Kingdom's gain. So, I should probably wrap up now. Folks, if you've made it this far, we will be sharing links Pretty much everything we've discussed and which you can find at podcast.greensoftware.foundation. And thanks again for listening. My name is Chris Adams and this is Asim Hussain of the Green Web Foundation and Green Software Foundation respectively. All right. Thanks, Asim, mate. Take care of yourself. Okay. Bye.

Asim Hussain: Cheers. See you later.

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!