Report on Cloud Computing’s Environmental Benefits is Flawed says GreenMonk Analyst

July 22, 2011 Off By Hoofer
Grazed from ReadWriteWeb.  Author:  Klint Finley.

This week the report Cloud Computing – The IT Solution for the 21st Century from the Carbon Disclosure Project has been making rounds in cloud computing circles. The report concludes that large businesses could use cloud computing to cut CO2 emissions by 85.7 million metric tons annually by 2020…

But GreenMonk analyst Tom Raftery says the report has some serious flaws, including the assumption that energy savings necessarily equate to reduced carbon emissions.

Raftery writes:

If I have a company whose energy retailer is selling me power generated primarily by nuclear or renewable sources for example, and I move my applications to a cloud provider whose power comes mostly from coal, then the move to cloud computing will increase, not decrease, my carbon emissions.

Raftery calls on cloud computing providers to publish energy consumption and emissons data, which would make it easier for companies to decide between cloud providers and give a better idea of what, if any, carbon emissions savings we can expect from cloud computing.