After the “Shame of the Airplane”, the “Shame of the Numbers”?

Despite the growing importance of the digital energy footprint, GAFA sees itself as a leader in renewable energy

chronic. Emily Cunningham, an Amazon employee, said: “This is the first cross-sectoral march across the tech industry — Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Square — to address the worst issues in our lives. Matters That Matter.” Digital Company Employees Participate in “Global Climate Strike,” Friday, Sept. 20. The march continues the collective action Ms. Cunningham co-founded: Climate Justice for Amazon Workers, which has written an open letter signed by more than 7,500 employees and filed a resolution at the shareholder meeting asking Jeff Bezos’ companies to better tackle climate change.

Initially associated with a leaner economy than older industries, digitization appears to be increasingly an energy-intensive industry

Despite their efforts, energy issues remain a challenge for digital giants. Ironically, some are leaders in renewable energy: Google and Apple announced in early 2018 that they would use 100 percent solar or wind power. Facebook hopes to hit that number in 2020, while Amazon shows only 50% of its cloud data hosting fork. On the day of the walk, Google announced 18 new contracts that will cement its position as “the world’s largest private buyer of renewable energy.” That same day, Amazon finally commits to 100 percent wind or solar power: 2030.

However, with the support of mobilized GAFA staff, fans of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, and the US Democratic nominees Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, it wasn’t enough. In addition to “achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030,” the collectives are asking their companies to end lucrative contracts with the oil industry: Amazon with BP or Shell, Microsoft with Chevron and Schlumberger, Google on the same day as Anadarko… Bezos has already countered that he prefers “these companies have the best tools for the energy transition.” By the way, the “cloud” players help the industry host its data, predict failures, and extract fossil fuels. GAFA staff also urged its leaders to stop donating to politicians or think tanks opposed to climate measures.

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