How to engineer more sustainable software

By

Eric Zie

April 12, 2024

Our world is a world of software. Eric Zie, CEO with GoCodeGreen, discusses the practical ways in which we can approach building software that doesn’t contribute to global warming.

Look around, and it is clear that we now live in an increasingly digital world. Everywhere we turn we hear talk of smart cities, artificial intelligence, big data and ChatGPT. Technology and digital solutions are growing, with the social, educational, health and business value of technology now unquestionable. But behind the scenes, this growth has a carbon cost that has remained invisible to most of us.

The information and communication technology (ICT) sector is now estimated to account for somewhere between 4-6% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is predicted to consume over 20% of global energy by 2030. A much quoted comparison that continues to shock is that data centres running the software we so depend on now have the same carbon impact as the aviation industry.

Everything, everywhere, all at once

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) synthesis report, at the conclusion of its sixth assessment cycle, gave us an updated call to action. The world’s leading scientists have once again shown us that we have no time to spare and that, as the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres stated, we must now do ‘everything, everywhere, all at once’ if we are to hold to the 1.5° temperature change set by the Paris agreement. The next IPCC assessment cycle may not be completed until 2030: this is the same timeframe we have to make enough changes to avoid reaching that critical threshold which, if crossed, will lead to large and often irreversible changes in the climate system.

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Eric is CEO and Founder of GoCodeGreen, a UK-based world-leading ClimateTech company with a mission to help decarbonise the digital world in which we all live.