🔗GTG Links 36 – End of year wrap up + Fortnite traffic spikes, AI energy, King of the Carbon Hill

Smoke rises from a forest of eucalypts.
Photo by Matt Palmer / Unsplash

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas (i.e. hot) in Australia. It's also really close to the end of the year – and what a year! In the last 12 months of the newsletter, we've written about:

We also put out some major new research like:

We also returned to the task of (re)calculating the total footprint of the global games industry – which we still haven't finished, though it's a priority in the new year. So far we have managed:

We also did some more fun stuff like reviews of:

All this plus links roundups to the latest developments in games & sustianability. No wonder I'm exhausted. Thanks for sticking around and reading GTG, and if you've just joined recently – take a look back at some of what you may have missed.

And of course, don't forget about our Games Industry Sustainability Benchmark report – which is just jam packed with all the best insights and analysis of the games industry's leading sustainabiltiy initiatives and what's being delivered.

Is it the perfect last-minute present for the climate-minded business or corporation in your life? We think so!

Now Available: AfterClimate’s flagship report, The Game Industry Sustainability Benchmark 2023
I believe having good data about where, why, and how emissions are occurring across the games industry is a necessary first step in enabling effective action to reduce those emissions. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. It is in keeping with that approach that I am super

Let's check out the sustainability and climate news for (possibly) the last time this year.

As we enter the third month of obliteration for the people of Gaza, COP28 saw a public call for a ceasefire now from the People's Plenary – this is climate justice, with the emphasis on the justice.


The rest of the news from COP28 seems... perhaps encouraging? I've not seen the details yet but there's no shortage of positive coverage of the final text with its agreement on a transition away from Fossil Fuels. Compare/contrast the two following pieces in the Guardian for e.g. this early congratulatory piece, hailing the result:

After 30 years of waiting, Cop28 deal addresses the elephant in the room | Fiona Harvey
He was personally vilified, but Sultan Al Jaber has managed what no other Cop presidency has ever done

vs. the decidedly less upbeat take on the watered-down language of "transition away" rather than "phase out", just two days later.

Failure of Cop28 on fossil fuel phase-out is ‘devastating’, say scientists
Climate experts say lack of unambiguous statement is ‘tragedy for the planet and our future’

My Hot Take is that we probably spend too much time focusing on what the elite-driven COP process comes up with in words and documents. Decarbonisation will take a boots-on-the-ground organising effort, greater democratic decision-making, and more local input. The top-down approach may appear to be how much of the world currently works but is itself a reflection of the reality "on the ground" created by people and political movements. People power is what delivers.


Hank Hill on Carbon Credits

This episode aired in 2008! It is a shocking indictment that so little has shifted in the fifteen years since.

Epic wins its case against Google's Play store

Pretty major development – I'm greatly in favour of more competition in technology platforms, so this seems... possibly positive.

Epic win: Jury decides Google has illegal monopoly in app store fight
Victory Royale.

The impact on internet traffic from Fortnite updates – incredible scale

All the more reason to ask for – and expect – disclosures from Epic next year, hey? If your impact is a measurable shift in digital traffic around the world... the world is going to want to know what you're doing about that.


Amazon’s selective reporting (esp. in Scope 3) is failing the planet

But with Amazon not counting the sale of 99 percent of products sold and distributed directly by Amazon or by third-party sellers, most of the emissions the corporation is responsible for will remain unreported. Rather than leading on decarbonization, Amazon is creating a dynamic that threatens to drive down the environmental reporting and standards of its competitors.
Amazon’s Climate Pledge Was a Lie
Jeff Bezos pledged four years ago that Amazon would lead the way on carbon reduction. Since then, the firm’s emissions have risen by 40 percent — and its use of creative accounting suggests that the real figure is far higher.

Attributional vs Consequential CO2 analysis

Really, really detailed discussion of CO2 measuring/reduction strategies for IT projects (with some overlap with games). Adrian Cockcroft is increasingly a must-read for thinking about IT/software GHG impacts.

Measuring Carbon is Not Enough — Unintended Consequences
There are plenty of problems in the way of measuring the carbon footprint of an IT workload, and I’ve been leading a Green Software…

MIT Technology review reports on a study of power use from generative AI tasks:

Their work, which is yet to be peer reviewed, shows that while training massive AI models is incredibly energy intensive, it’s only one part of the puzzle. Most of their carbon footprint comes from their actual use.  
Making an image with generative AI uses as much energy as charging your phone
This is the first time the carbon emissions caused by using an AI model for different tasks have been calculated.

Interactive pathways to 1.5C

Interactive: The pathways to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C limit
Explore what future levels of emissions could mean for global average temperatures, if – or when – the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C limit is breached, and, in some cases, by how much and for how long.

Discourses of delay

An older one (from 2020) but still sadly relevant.

Guest post: How ‘discourses of delay’ are used to slow climate action
You have probably already heard a discourse of climate delay. Perhaps it came from a friend, a colleague, someone famous or someone powerful.

Bitcoin facing new disclosure rules in the EU

See the rest of the post here

Seriously cool graphics showing data & energy intensity of loading a webpage

Our data problems are getting harder to ignore
ST investigates the environmental impact of our global data demand and what’s being done to minimise it.

WeTransfer has a new digital ad methodology

Advertising the right way
As a B Corp, WeTransfer believes advertising has the power to shape society and inspire positive change. Here’s how.

That's it! See ya next time.