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Wrong Goal?

November 21, 2013

For a soccer-crazed society, Europe sure can be focused on wrong goals.  Here’s an example from The Register:

Facebook’s Open Compute Project has found little overt support in Europe to date, the firm’s data centre boss said today, in part because of those crazy continentals’ obsession with carbon neutrality over efficiency.


As to whether there was something intrinsic to the European mindset that stopped data centre operators and/or vendors jumping into bed with Facebook, he said, “I don’t think so.”

But, he added, Europe (as much as you can talk about a single Europe) was very focused on carbon neutrality. Facebook, and by extension OCP, is “more into the efficiency side of the house”.

I can’t say that I’m a fan of carbon neutrality as a single goal, since that seems to be more of a paying of indulgences rather than a real goal.  And the above is an illustration of my point.  We can make a large system that is more efficient at energy usage and overall system utilization, but that might not mean that we’ve paid for planting trees in the creek bed that offset in some way.  Would it be better to buy twice as many trees and double the size, forcing costs that have to be passed on in some way?

I suppose Europe can drive whatever standards it wants as an EU body.  But the problem is that the decisions will continue to have consequences in terms of the business the continent draws, and how the citizens can utilize technology.  If this type of discussion extends to telephony data centers, and then to business, the energy usage could rise significantly, even as you run out of places to build carbon sinks.

So blame your inability to get your Facebook status in Belgium on the appropriate factors.  That’s all I’m saying.

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