Data Centers Greenwashing Par Excellence


Data centers are using too much energy — and at a great cost. It’s time we got smarter about energy use around these data centers.

Why are data centers so super-secretive?

“My hypothesis is that data centers are facing more and more opposition worldwide by local communities because these communities are starting to understand that most of the positive impacts of a data center will not be seen by the local community,” Gauthier Roussilhe, an environmental footprint specialist, explained to me.

“Most of the direct employment for the local community will be security, cleaning and so on. It’s rare to have local people trained to become IT engineers,” he added.

So, why is it common practice for governments to lavish financial incentives on data centers?

“There was a joke about how Facebook was contributing $2 million to local communities, while they were getting a tax cut of $150 million,” Gauthier states. “And it’s not a labor-intensive industry to start with, and it’s becoming more and more automated. A city north of Paris calculated that the employment rate for a data center in the area was one full-time employee per 10,000 square meters, when the average in the area was 50.”

Related Article: Bicycle Thinking: Finding a Balance Between Technology and Life

The Cult of Technology

Sadly, most politicians belong to the Cult of Technology. They are desperate to be associated with technology, and when the tech bros say jump, the politicians meekly ask: “How high?” We need politicians with a lot more skeptical views on the so-called benefits of technology. We must understand that it is the overuse of technology that has created the climate crisis in the first place. And now we’re being told that using more technology will solve the crisis that technology created.

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