Techies tell BCS: More and richer data required if COP26 climate pledges are to be met

How can you get to net zero without knowing what's generating the nasties?

BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT in the UK is the latest to weigh in on the Net Zero debate, with a call for better data on what is generating C02 emissions in the office, at home and in transit.

The group highlighted a survey, which showed 71 per cent of tech pros were not confident the right data was in the right hands to achieve the lofty goal of Net Zero. A similar amount (61 per cent) said IT and digital tech were not being used effectively.

"The recent UK Government Budget announced record investment in research and development," said the institute, "but there is a need for clarity on how government plans to use this to fund the software, infrastructure technology and growing the data science industry to the levels needed to understand the data."

The UK government throwing money at a problem without really considering how it will be spent? Heaven forbid!

Almost a year ago, the Royal Society put forward a report suggesting that digital technology could account for a third in the reduction in emissions the UK is aiming for by 2030. A year on, however, and the BCS survey suggests there remains much to be done, not least knowing how much C02 is actually being produced by what.

Never ones to shy away from a bit of greenwashing, the tech giants have recently rolled out platforms to assist customers in working out what their cloud computing is costing the environment.

Google unveiled its Cloud Footprint in October closely followed by Microsoft's Azure Emissions Dashboard. Both intend to highlight the emissions arising from cloud workloads, although Google's tool might not be entirely accurate while Microsoft's platform requires a Power BI subscription to access.

And then there is the thorny subject of Microsoft's insistence that perfectly adequate PCs must be sent to a landfill and replaced by new kit to adequately run the Windows 11 operating system.

Microsoft has yet to comment on the environmental impact of manufacturing and shipping a new Surface device to replace hardware deemed unfit for purpose by the whim of its Windows division, however, it has promised that the hardware range will be 100 per cent recyclable in the not-too-distant future.

"By 2030, we will divert at least 90 per cent of the solid waste headed to landfills and incineration from our campuses and data centers, manufacture 100 percent recyclable Surface devices, use 100 per cent recyclable packaging (in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, countries), and achieve, at a minimum, 75 per cent diversion of construction and demolition waste for all projects."

As the institute observed, those figures – and more – are required if IT is truly going to make a useful contribution to the UK's hoped-for reduction rather than instead simply contributing yet more hot air. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021