GTG Links No. 16 – Feb 17

A thick forest of tall trees occupies the bottom third of the image, with a white sky at the top.
Photo by Michael Benz / Unsplash

It's been a couple weeks since a links post, so I've stored up way, way too much. Strap in for some of the latest climate and energy news relevant to the games industry.

Why we do what we do

SBTi will start naming and shaming companies that fail to hit their targets

Commitment Compliance Policy - what you need to know - Science Based Targets
Our updated Commitment Compliance Policy comes into force on 31 January 2023. Find out what this means for companies and stakeholders.

Another voice for a power cap on consoles

Blogger Stephen Richard’s echoes my own call for the EU's energy efficient games consoles initiative to consider a power cap for the use-phase of consoles, and sums up many of the reasons for it. The number he picks is a bit arbitrary, but it is telling that this is not going to remain a fringe proposal for very long.

The very best way the games industry can reduce its carbon footprint
Why the industry is in the prime position to demand a much-needed console power cap.

Carbon Market Watch is the hero we need, but probably don't deserve

Two incredible pieces of research to dig into. The first on the extent of greenwashing and the use of "offsets" in the net zero plans of major corporations: the newly published Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor is tough and sober reading:

Not a single of the 24 corporations’ climate plans received a ‘high integrity’ score in this year’s CCRM (see table). And, like last year, only one company, Danish shipping giant Maersk, got a ‘reasonable integrity’ ranking. Apple, ArcelorMittal, Google, H&M Group, Holcim, Microsoft, Stellantis and Thyssenkrupp all managed to bag a ‘moderate integrity’ score, while the remaining 15 corporations ranged between low and very low. While net-zero pledges give the superficial impression that emissions will plummet to nil or close to nil, deep digging throws up a very different reality. In the vital medium term, when the world needs to almost halve its carbon footprint if we are to keep temperature rises within the relatively safe 1.5°C, the 22 assessed corporations that have a 2030 target commit to delivering a median reduction of a paltry 15% in their real emissions by 2030.

Despite the role voluntary carbon markets are meant to play in financing climate action, the exact amount of money reaching climate projects and local communities is shrouded in mystery, while nine out of 10 intermediaries do not disclose their fees or profit margins, a new study commissioned by Carbon Market Watch reveals.
Go check it out. 

The second is equally dismaying, and is about the degree in which intermediaries and ticket-clippers have inserted themselves into the carbon trading market. Getting rich off of green goodwill? Pretty shocking.,

THREE pieces on large scale computing emissions

The scale of computing involved in large language models and other AI type modern marvels is truly staggering (I've linked to estimates of the scale of it before I think?). But what about the emissions cost from all that energy?

Energy and Policy Considerations for Deep Learning in NLP
Recent progress in hardware and methodology for training neural networks hasushered in a new generation of large networks trained on abundant data. Thesemodels have obtained notable gains in accuracy across many NLP tasks. However,these accuracy improvements depend on the availability of exceptio…

The Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence also released a report on "Climate Change and AI: Recommendations for Government Action". Here's the summary graphic of their recommendations:

And lastly, a publication on LCA implications:

Unraveling the Hidden Environmental Impacts of AI Solutions for Environment Life Cycle Assessment of AI Solutions
In the past ten years, artificial intelligence has encountered such dramatic progress that it is now seen as a tool of choice to solve environmental issues and, in the first place, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). At the same time, the deep learning community began to realize that training models wit…

Netflix recently released a video on its progress phasing out fossil fuels from film & TV production

Been looking at what the big N has been doing for some work I've been doing, though they come in for a bit of a shellacking in the carbon market watch report above. Still, they are pioneering some interesting approaches to production emissions, and face a much different (and arguably much harder) set of challenges than the games industry.

Does the world need a Green finance ratings agency? Moody's for green power projects?

Investment and Decarbonization: Rating Green Finance | Phenomenal World
The Biden administration has committed the United States to cutting its carbon emissions in half by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

New analysis finds that all the coal power in the US could be replaced by solar, wind & big batteries - and be cost effective

Clean energy is cheaper than coal across the whole US, study finds
Almost every coal-fired power plant in the country could be cost-effectively replaced by local solar or wind and batteries, according to a groundbreaking new analysis.

BP thinks that peak oil demand arrived in 2019 - and it’s only downhill from here. Pretty positive stuff!

BP thinks global oil demand peaked in 2019: this is an important signal for the energy transition
Even the oil companies have accepted that oil’s future is shrinking, and could fade away quickly.

Renewables will be world’s top electricity source within three years

Renewables will be world’s top electricity source within three years, IEA data reveals - Carbon Brief
Renewables will cover almost all of global electricity demand growth out to 2025, becoming the world’s top source of electricity within three years.

Chile is very hot and very dry

New case in a UK court over climate damage committed in the Niger Delta

Nigerian communities file damages claim against Shell in London court
More than 11,000 Nigerians from the oil-producing Niger Delta have filed a compensation claim against Shell at the London High Court, the latest step in a case that will test whether multinationals can be held to account for the actions of overseas subsidiaries.

The China Project on the electrification of personal transport in China

“What struck me most from going out and about when I could was that no one in either China or the rest of the world was talking about what has to be the most remarkable change in China’s climate mitigation approach, and the one with the most to offer to the rest of the world: the electrification of transportation. As I traveled between Shanghai and Beijing, and then around the city, electrified transportation was simply everywhere, and yet, almost never commented on.”

Pretty neat series of observations – though I wonder how much of this roadmap is culturally and nationally specific. The design of Chinese cities is also very different to much of North America (and Australia).

APO & RMIT Regenerative Finance “Re Fi”: blockchain for climate action

Regenerative Finance “ReFi”: blockchain for climate action
Interview participants in this research project see ReFi as a potentially revolutionary movement, capable of transforming prevailing value systems. The interviewees pointed to several ways blockchain technology could support climate action.

New barriers to repair report

We investigated the availability of appliance repair information in the United States, by two primary methods: We surveyed and interviewed appliance repair professionals, and we attempted to acquire service manuals from 50 appliance manufacturers. We found that appliance repair in the United States suffers from a lack of access to the information necessary to complete repairs.

Of the 50 appliance manufacturers we examined, just 7 made service manuals available: Two were found posted publicly, and another five were provided to us upon request. In other words, 86% of the companies we surveyed did not provide full repair instructions.

Seems useful. Repair is still not nearly as big of a part of the games industry as it should be. If my anecdata is an indication, the average number of broken controllers attached to each owned console has got to be greater than 1 or 2 (mine are all in a drawer somewhere!).

This makes me wonder what the CO2 emissions from the entire cremation industry

“In total, the process to "transform your loved one's body into soil" saves around one metric ton of CO2 emissions per person compared to burial or cremation, Recompose claims.”
Recompose human composting facility “transforms your loved one’s body into soil”
American startup Recompose has opened a funeral home in Seattle designed by architecture firm Olson Kundig, where human remains are composted and turned into a nutrient-rich soil that can nurture new plant life.

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