[Foundation-l] WMF-projects: Carbon neutral/low/aware website?

Peter Halasz email at pengo.org
Sat Jun 9 12:12:25 UTC 2007

To reply to a few random bits, while trying to avoid another rant on
why we should try to reach zero-emissions:


Nuclear power is not a renewable energy source.


Tim Starling's estimate of $200 per month ($2400 year) to become
carbon neutral doesn't sound like a lot of money to me, even if the
total is three times this. Of course he's said it was an
underestimate, but it gives a possible ballpark figure. I can't
imagine it would be difficult to raise as part of the next fundraiser,
whether it's asked for explicitly as a separate fund or simply made
part of the budget.


I know it was said in jest, but to correct a misconception, and have a
bit of an off topic rant: paper production actually releases a
surprising amount of carbon. Especially when the woodchip for the
pulpmill was from an old growth forest that will take hundreds of
years to regain its previous level of carbon storage in the trees and
soil. A large part of the carbon of a forest is found in the soil, and
this is often burnt after the wood is harvested, releasing massive
amounts of carbon (at least from what I understand of the situation
around here in Australia. Probably different elsewhere). A large
percentage of the wood does not end up in paper or wood products
either (I've heard numbers upwards of 90%, but I don't know where they
were pulled from). I understand there are some papers coming out about
this soon. A huge amount of carbon dioxide emissions can be saved
simply by not cutting down trees and unfortunately the value of not
logging forests was left out of the Kyoto protocol. (plantations are a
different matter). </rant>


> What percentage of carbon emissions come from things a typical person can reduce on their own?

It's much much more than 1%,  It is, however difficult to answer
because they don't seem to divide up usage into "individuals" and
"other".. (and Wikipedia isn't a "person")... but to quote the IPCC:
In 1990, industry accounted for two-fifths of global primary energy
use, residential and commercial buildings [that'd include Wikipedia]
for a slightly smaller amount, and transportation for one-fifth of the

That's from:

For other ways to divide it up, see:

I'm sure there's better stats around. I've seen a nice graphical chart
in one of these reports once but I can't seem to find it again.


> once people have put enough money into offsetting schemes to reduce all [easily reduced emissions] the cost of offsetting will grow enormously.

That's the point of carbon trading schemes and creating a market for
carbon. The world says: this is our target for total emissions, if
you're going to go over your quota, you'll have to buy some from
someone else. If the prices are going up, then there's more incentive
to find better ways of not polluting, which brings prices down again.
It's a market.


Suggestions to consider the efficiency of the servers (and not only
the $ cost) is good. We could consider raising money to pay for the
work that needs to be done on that too, if necessary. How easily would
this work be transferable to other (non-WMF-related) projects? For
example, could we build a --sleep-server-when-not-needed switch into
Mediawiki, or otherwise what level is the code for it done at? (Or is
it not something you'd automate?)

I think that's all for now :)

Peter Halasz

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