Ecological Impacts

— Starting Points

Your Website is Killing the Planet.” D. Chan, WIRED (Mar 22, 2021).

These Are the Worst (and Best) Websites for Carbon Emissions.” J. Cohen, (May 21, 2021).

AI and Climate Change: How They’re Connected, and What We Can Do about It.” R. Dobbe and M. Whittaker, Medium (Oct 17, 2019).

Oil in the Cloud: How Tech Companies Are Helping Big Oil Profit from Climate Destruction.” T. Donaghy, C. Henderson, and E. Jardim, (May 19, 2020).

Why Your Internet Habits Are Not as Clean as You Think.” S. Griffiths, (Mar 5, 2020).

How to Stop Data Centres from Gobbling up the World’s Electricity.” N. Jones, Nature (Sept 12, 2018). 

The Staggering Ecological Impacts of Computation and the Cloud.” S.G. Monserrate, The MIT Press Reader (Feb 14, 2022). 

Data Center Water Usage: A Comprehensive Guide.” M. Zhang, DGTL Infra (Jan 17, 2024).

— Academic Articles and Books

1. Quantitative Assessments

Al Kez, D. et al. 2022. “Exploring the Sustainability Challenges Facing Digitalization and Internet Data Centers.”Journal of Cleaner Production 371 (15 Oct 2022): 133633. 

Andrae, A., & Edler, T. 2015. “On Global Electricity Usage of Communication Technology: Trends to 2030.” Challenges 6(1): 117–157.

Aslan, J. et al. 2018. “Electricity Intensity of Internet Data Transmission: Untangling the Estimates.”Journal of Industrial Ecology 22, 4 (01 Aug 2018): 785-798.

Batmunkh, A. 2022. “Carbon Footprint of the Most Popular Social Media Platforms.”Sustainability 14, 4: 2195.

Belkhir, L., and A. Elmeligi. 2018. “Assessing ICT Global Emissions Footprint: Trends to 2040 & Recommendations.”Journal of Cleaner Production 177 (10 Mar 2018): 448-463. 

Bieser Jan and L Hilty Lorenz M. 2018. “Assessing Indirect Environmental Effects of Information and Communication Technology (ICT): A Systematic Literature Review.” Sustainability 10, 8: 2662.

Gupta, U. et al. 2021. “Chasing Carbon: The Elusive Environmental Footprint of Computing.” In 2021 IEEE International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA 2021): 854-867.

Hilty, L. M. and B. Aebischer (eds). 2015.  ICT Innovations for Sustainability, Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing v310. New York: Springer.

Itten, R., Hischier, R., Andrae, A.S.G. et al. 2020. “Digital Transformation—Life Cycle Assessment of Digital Services, Multifunctional Devices and Cloud Computing.” International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 25, 2093–2098 (2020). 

Luccioni, Alexandra S., Sylvain Viguier, and Anne-Laure Ligozat. 2022. “Estimating the Carbon Footprint of BLOOM, A 176B Parameter Language Model.” 

Malmodin, Jens, and Dag Lundén. 2018. “The Energy and Carbon Footprint of the Global ICT and E&M Sectors 2010–2015.” Sustainability 10, 9 (25 Aug 2018): 3027.

Obringer, R. et al. 2021. “The Overlooked Environmental Footprint of Increasing Internet Use.” Resources, Conservation and Recycling 167 (April 2021): 105389.

Pirson, Thibault, and David Bol. 2021. “Assessing the Embodied Carbon Footprint of IoT Edge Devices with a Bottom-up Life-cycle Approach.”Journal of Cleaner Production 322 (1 Nov 2021): 128966. 

Reyes-García, V. et al. 2022. “Decarbonizing the Academic Sector: Lessons from an International Research Project.”Journal of Cleaner Production 368 (25 Sep 2022): 133174. 

Widdicks, Kelly et al. 2019. “Streaming, Multi-Screens and YouTube: The New (Unsustainable) Ways of Watching in the Home.” CHI ’19: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Paper No 466. May 2019: 1-13.

2. Critical Assessments in the Social Sciences

Bakker, K., & M. Ritts. 2018. “Smart Earth: A Meta-review and Implications for Environmental Governance.” Global Environmental Change 52, 201–211. 

Brevini, B. 2020. “Black Boxes, Not Green: Mythologizing Artificial Intelligence and Omitting the Environment.” Big Data Soc. 7, 2.

Brevini, B. and G. Murdock (eds). 2018. Carbon Capitalism and Communication: Confronting Climate Crisis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Crawford, Kate. 2021. The Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Dauvergne, P. 2022. “Is Artificial Intelligence Greening Global Supply Chains? Exposing the Political Economy of Environmental Costs.” Rev. Int. Polit. Econ. 29, 3: 696-718. 

—. 2020. AI in the Wild: Sustainability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Furlong, K. 2021. “Geographies of Infrastructure II: Concrete, Cloud and Layered (In) Visibilities.” Progr. Human Geogr. 45, 1: 190–198.

Gabrys, J. 2020. “Smart Forests and Data Practices: From the Internet of Trees to Planetary Governance.” Big Data & Society 7, 1. 

—. 2016. Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet. Electronic Mediations 49. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.

Hogan, M. 2015. “Data Flows and Water Woes: The Utah Data Center.” Big Data & Society 2, 2. 

Levenda, A.M., Mahmoudi, D., 2019. “Silicon Forest and Server Farms: The (Urban) Nature of Digital Capitalism in the Pacific Northwest.” Culture Machine

Machen, R. and E. Nost. 2021. “Thinking Algorithmically: The Making of Hegemonic Knowledge in Climate Governance.” Trans. Inst. British Geogr. 46, 3: 555–569. 

Monserrate, S.G. 2022. “The Cloud Is Material: On the Environmental Impacts of Computation and Data Storage.”MIT Case Studies in Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing, no. Winter 2022 (January). 

Murdock G. and B. Brevini. 2019. “Communications and the Capitalocene: Disputed Ecologies, Contested Economies, Competing Futures.” The Political Economy of Communication 7, 1: 51–82. 

Nost, E. and E. Colven. 2022. “Earth for AI: A Political Ecology of Data-Driven Climate Initiatives.” Geoforum 130: 23-34.

Pasek, A. 2019. “Managing Carbon and Data Flows: Fungible Forms of Mediation in the Cloud.” Culture Machine

Robbins, S. and A. van Wynsberghe. 2022. “Our New Artificial Intelligence Infrastructure: Becoming Locked into an Unsustainable Future.” Sustainability 14, 8 (18 Apr 2022): 4829. 

Sætra, H.S. 2021. “AI in Context and the Sustainable Development Goals: Factoring in the Unsustainability of the Sociotechnical System.” Sustainability 13:1738.