Environmental impact/ja added to category

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[[File:Fayette power project.jpg|thumb|By relying on energy produced from fossil fuels like this coal-fired power plant in Texas, the Wikimedia projects contribute to global warming.]]

This page aims at discussing, and eventually reducing, the '''environmental impact of the Wikimedia movement'''.


== What is the environmental impact of the Wikimedia movement and why does it matter? ==

'''The environmental impact of the Wikimedia movement is bigger than you think.''' From running the Wikipedia servers, over heating, cooling and lighting the Wikimedia Foundation's and its movement affiliates' offices, and flying volunteer contributors across the globe for Wikimania and other events, to finally displaying any Wikipedia article on a reader's device – all this requires a significant amount of energy, the production of which contributes to global warming.

'''We have a powerful brand and can use it to show green leadership.''' Given the Wikimedia Movement's outsized influence as a brand and customer of data center services, there is a lot of potential for it to play a highly positive role in this space. This is why the environmental impact of the Wikimedia movement matters a lot.

== How are we doing? ==

[[File:Greenpeace USA analysis of Wikipedia enegery consumption 2015.JPG|thumbnail|upright=2|Barely passing: "D" score for Wikipedia in [[:w:Greenpeace USA|Greenpeace USA's]] 2015 "Click Green Scorecard".<ref name="GP-Scorecard">Greenpeace USA: [http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/planet3/PDFs/2015ClickCleanKeyFindings.pdf Click Clean Scorecard: Key Findings & Scores Explained], 2015, page 43.</ref>]]

Overall, the Wikimedia movement does not have a massive energy footprint compared to other high-traffic sites like Google or Facebook. Part of this may be due to efforts by Wikipedia to be efficient, and part of it is just a nature of the pages that it is serving – mostly text, with little video. Also, the Wikimedia movement employs relatively few people.

As to energy sources, the Wikimedia movement relies heavily on carbon-intensive energy sources, with a couple of positive exceptions. On the good side, the Wikimedia Foundation has been open about this and made the first steps towards a renewable energy commitment.[[File:Wikimedia Foundation Servers-8055 03.jpg|thumb|right|A view of some Wikimedia servers.]]

=== Energy usage and energy sources ===

==== Data centers ====

[[Wikimedia servers|The Wikimedia Foundation's servers]] are spread out in four colocation data centers in Virginia, Texas and San Francisco in the United States, and Amsterdam in Europe. As of May 2016, the servers use '''222 kW''', summing up to about '''2 GWh''' of electrical energy '''per year'''. For comparison: An average household in the United States uses 11 MWh/year,<ref>Inside Energy: [http://insideenergy.org/2014/05/22/using-energy-how-much-electricity-do-you-use-each-month/ How Much Electricity Do You Use Each Month?]</ref> the average for Germany is 3 MWh/year.

Only the few servers in Amsterdam run on renewable energy, the other use different conventional energy mixes. Overall, just '''9%''' of Wikimedia Foundation data centers' energy comes from renewable sources, with the rest split evenly between coal, gas and nuclear power (34%, 28%, and 28%, respectively) <ref name="GP-Scorecard" />. The bulk of the Wikimedia movement's electricity demand is in Virginia and Texas, which unfortunately have both very [[en:fossil fuel|fossil fuel]] heavy grids.


{| class="wikitable"

!Server name

!Data center location




!Energy sources

!Carbon footprint (CO<sub>2</sub>/year)

!Renewable<br/>option<br/>and cost



|[[w:en:Ashburn, Virginia|Ashburn, VA<br/>20146-20149<br/>USA]]

|[[w:en:Equinix|Equinix]] ([http://www.equinix.com/ Website])

|February 2011

|May 2016: 130

May 2015: 152

|{{Graph:Chart|width=100|height=100|legend=|type=pie|x=coal,nat gas,nuclear,renewable|y1=32,20,25,17|colors=#000000,#58608C,#8B8C58,#1EEB44|showValues= fontsize:10}}

32% coal<br/>

20% natural gas<br/>

25% nuclear<br/>

17% renewable<ref>{{Cite web|url=http://www.equinix.com/company/green/green-data-centers/#Leed|title=Green Data Centers|website=www.equinix.com|accessdate=2016-04-07}}</ref>

|1,040,000 lb = 520 [[w:en:short ton|short tons]] = 470 [[w:en:tonne|metric tons]]


= 0.32 * 130 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 2.1 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for coal<ref name=EIA>{{cite web |url=https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=74&t=11 |title=How much carbon dioxide is produced per kilowatthour when generating electricity with fossil fuels? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) |accessdate=2017-01-16}}</ref><br/>

+ 0.20 * 130 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 1.22lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for nat gas<ref name=EIA/><br/>

+ 0.25 * 130 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 0 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for nuclear<br/>

+ 0.17 * 130 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 0 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for renewable





|[[w:en:Dallas|Carrollton, TX<br/>75007<br/>USA]]

|[[w:en:CyrusOne|CyrusOne]] ([http://www.cyrusone.com/data-center-location/texas/dallas-texas-carrollton/ Website])

|May 2014

|May 2016: 77

May 2015: 70

|{{Graph:Chart|width=77|height=77|legend=|type=pie|x=coal,nat gas,nuclear,renewable,wind|y1=23,56,6,1,14|colors=#000000,#58608C,#8B8C58,#1EEB44,#97DFF7|showValues=fontsize:10}}

23% coal<br/>

56% natural gas<br/>

6% nuclear<br/>

1% hydro/biomass/solar/other<br/>

14% wind

([[w:en:Oncor Electric Delivery|Oncor]]/[[w:en:Electric Reliability Council of Texas|Ercot]])

|790,000 lb = 400 short tons = 360 metric tons


= 0.23 * 77 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 2.1 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for coal<ref name=EIA/><br/>

+ 0.56 * 77 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 1.22lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for nat gas<ref name=EIA/><br/>

+ 0.06 * 77 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 0 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for nuclear<br/>

+ 0.15 * 77 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 0 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for renewables<br/>





|[[W:en:Amsterdam|Haarlem<br/>2031 BE<br/>Netherlands]]

|[[W:en:EvoSwitch|EvoSwitch]] ([http://www.evoswitch.com/ Website])

|December 2008

|May 2016: < 10

May 2015: 10


"a combination of wind power, hydro and biomass"<ref>{{Cite web|url=http://www.evoswitch.com/en/infrastructure/environment|title=Environment|website=www.evoswitch.com|accessdate=2016-04-06}}</ref>





|[[w:en:San Francisco|San Francisco, CA<br/>94124<br/>USA]]

|UnitedLayer ([https://unitedlayer.com/ Website])

|June 2012

|May 2016: < 5

May 2015: < 5

|{{Graph:Chart|width=20|height=20|legend=|type=pie|x=nat gas,nuclear,renewable,hydro, unspecified|y1=25,23,30,6,17|colors=#58608C,#8B8C58,#1EEB44,#2D4CFA,#CCCCCC|showValues=fontsize:0}}

25% natural gas<br/>

23% nuclear<br/>

30% renewable<br/>

6% hydro<br/>

17% unspecified

([[w:en:Pacific Gas and Electric Company|PG&E]])<ref name=":0">{{Cite web|url=http://www.pge.com/en/about/environment/pge/cleanenergy/index.page|title=Clean Energy Solutions|website=www.pge.com|accessdate=2016-04-07}}</ref>

|13,000 lb = 6.7 short tons = 6.1 metric tons (+ unspecified)


= 0.00 * 5 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 2.1 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for coal<ref name=EIA/><br/>

+ 0.25 * 5 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 1.22lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for nat gas<ref name=EIA/><br/>

+ 0.23 * 5 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 0 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for nuclear<br/>

+ 0.36 * 5 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * 0 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for hydro/renewable<br/>

+ 0.17 * 5 kW * 8765.76 hr/yr * ? lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for unspecified




'''To do:'''

* update carbon footprint of servers whenever new data become available

* determine carbon footprint of unspecified portion of utility grid power in San Francisco

==== Travel and events ====

Thousands of Wikimedians use commercial aviation to travel to events every year; this is a [[w:Environmental impact of aviation|significant source of carbon emissions]]. A rough estimate of the carbon emissions generated by air travel for [[Wikimania]] is 1,874 metric tons of CO<sub>2</sub>,<ref>See talk page.</ref> which is more than twice the CO<sub>2</sub> generated by running the servers.

* evaluate estimate of carbon emissions generated by air travel for Wikimania and other conferences

* discuss mitigation options

==== Offices ====

[[File:Wikimedia Foundation office in San Francisco 02.jpg|thumb|A look at the ventilation system of the Wikimedia Foundation's offices in San Francisco.]]

Wikimedia Foundation has an office in San Francisco and around 250 employees,<ref>https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Template:STAFF-COUNT</ref> about half of which are remote workers. Wikimedia Deutschland has an office in Berlin for 77 people<ref>Wikimedia Deutschland staff [https://wikimedia.de/wiki/Staff web page]. Retrieved Jul 10 2015.</ref> that is supplied with renewable energy.<ref>[http://www.energiezukunft.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/energiezukunft/energiezukunft_2013-15.pdf, "Wikimedia oder: Bildung für jedermann", ''energiezukunft'' no. 15, p. n5.]</ref> Other movement organizations may have offices as well. It is not currently known what their energy usage or sources are.


{| class="wikitable"

!Organization name

!Office location

!Number of on-site employees

!Yearly energy consumption

!Energy sources

!Carbon footprint (CO<sub>2</sub>/year)

!Renewable option and cost


|Wikimedia Foundation

|San Francisco, USA

|2016: 127 (out of 254 total)

|2015: 383 MWh (estimate)

|25% natural gas<br/>

23% nuclear<br/>

30% renewable<br/>

6% hydro<br/>

17% unspecified<br/>

([[w:en:Pacific Gas and Electric Company|PG&E]])<ref name=":0" />

| 120,000 lb = 58 short tons = 53 metric tons (+ unspecified)


= 0.25 * 383000 kWh * 1.22lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for nat gas<ref name=EIA/><br/>

+ 0.23 * 383000 kWh * 0 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for nuclear<br/>

+ 0.36 * 383000 kWh * 0 lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for renewables<br/>

+ 0.17 * 383000 kWh * ? lb CO<sub>2</sub>/kWh for unspecified


|[http://www.pge.com/en/mybusiness/save/solar/choice/index.page?WT.mc_id=Vanity_solarchoicebusiness PG&E Solar Choice]:

~ $ 900/month


|Wikimedia Deutschland

|Berlin, Germany

|2017: 88

|2016: 52 MWh

|55% hydro<br/>

46% mixed renewable ([https://www.naturstrom.de/fileadmin/PDF/NaturStromHandel_Stromkennzeichnung.pdf Naturstrom 2015])




|other Wikimedia organizations








'''To do:'''

* gather information regarding energy usage of other offices

* estimate carbon footprint of commuters

* update carbon footprint of offices whenever new data become available

* determine carbon footprint of unspecified portion of utility grid power in San Francisco


The Wikimedia foundation is being somewhat transparent about its environmental impact as can be seen above. As it has reported key figures to Greenpeace USA for their 2015 "Click Green Scorecard" report, it is considered an "energy transparency leader" in the internet sector.<ref>Greenpeace USA: [http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/planet3/PDFs/2015ClickCleanKeyFindings.pdf Click Clean Scorecard: Key Findings & Scores Explained], 2015, page 11.</ref>


The Wikimedia Foundation [https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/RFP/2013_Datacenter stated] that "environmental impact of the facility (cooling efficiency, reclaimed water, etc)" was an "important consideration" for selecting the site for its most recent data center. However, the Wikimedia Foundation has made no firm commitment to work on reducing its overall environmental impact.

== But... ==

==== Isn't the Wikimedia movement's environmental impact negligible? ====

Some have expressed since the Wikimedia movement's energy use is significantly smaller than that of other popular internet destinations, we should not treat our environmental impact as a problem. But with global warming being an imminent threat to our civilization, every organization should look for ways to play its part in saving the planet.

==== Doesn't Wikipedia replace printed books? And doesn't Wikipedia help enough by educating its readers about environmental topics? ====

Some community members have expressed that Wikipedia might have an overall positive impact on the environment since it replaces printed encyclopaedias and educates it users about environmental issues. However, such indirect effects are difficult to calculate and even if they exist, it still is a good idea to reduce Wikipedia's negative impact on the environment.

== What can we do? ==

=== Be even more transparent ===

The Wikimedia Foundation could issue an annual energy transparency report, similar to the one it already publishes on privacy issues, that offers the public information on how much electricity it uses, what kind of sources the power comes from, and what its carbon footprint is. Much of the required data has already been produced in the past. This would set an example for the internet industry.

* '''Current status:''' –

* '''Key people:''' –

=== Switch to green energy ===

The Wikimedia Foundation could work with its colocation vendors to let them know that it is interested in procuring renewable energy where possible, and exploring options to do so.

* '''Current status:''' As of February 2017, the Wikimedia Foundation is considering opening a new server location in Southeast Asia, and considering sustainability as a procurement factor.

* '''Key people:''' [[User:PSwaby (WMF)|Pamela Swaby]], Procurement Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

=== Use less energy and produce less waste ===

Using less energy means using more power-efficient equipment, like energy efficient buildings, traveling less, and server capacity and location planning.<ref>https://ganglia.wikimedia.org/latest/ shows the cluster CPUs are 9% used on average, but that's only part of the story.</ref> Waste reduction includes recycling more old equipment and used paper, for example.

* '''Current status:''' –

* '''Key people:''' –

=== Make a green energy commitment ===

The Wikimedia Foundation can make a long-term commitment to power with 100% renewable energy. While that's definitely not something that can be done tomorrow or even (most likely) in the next couple of years, setting an aspirational goal for 100% renewable energy sends a very strong signal to vendors and the market that there is customer demand for renewable energy. Setting a goal publicly helps show the world what the Movement's intentions are, and good things often come from that. A draft commitment has been submitted to the board in 2015.

* '''Current status:''' A draft renewable energy commitment has been sent to the Wikimedia Foundation for review in August 2015. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is currently (as of February 2017) discussing it.

* '''Key people:''' [[User:Raystorm]] (María Sefidari), Vice Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

=== Have a green energy investment strategy ===

When setting up its [[endowment]] fund, the Wikimedia Foundation could make investments in renewable energy a priority and/or rule out investments in non-renewable energy.

A literature review shows that «there is indeed clear empirical evidence for a positive correlation between corporate social and financial performance»<ref>[[doi:10.1007/s10551-008-9894-x]]</ref> and returns of USA environmental funds in 2001–2009 have been on par with non-ethical funds.<ref>[[doi:10.1007/s10551-011-0865-2]]</ref>

* '''Current status:''' The [[Wikimedia Endowment#Endowment Investment Policy|investment policy]] of the [[Wikimedia Endowment]], which was adopted by the endowment's Advisory Board in January 2017, does not reflect sustainability issues. As of February 2017, there are discussions to change that.

* '''Key people:''' [[User:MBrent (WMF)|Marc Brent]], Endowment Director, Wikimedia Foundation

== What would be the benefit? ==

In order to be able to compare the goal of reducing our environmental impact with the other goals and and values of the movement, we need to understand the benefit of improving on how we are doing. As a best-case estimate we can assume that we can assume that on all measures introduced above – energy use, energy sources, transparency, and commitment – we achieve the best possible outcome. What would be the actual measurable benefit of that? This will allow us to estimate how much effort in order to achieve these goals is warranted.

* '''To do:''' estimate benefit of individual proposals

== Show your support ==

'''[https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Environmental_impact/Sig&action=edit Add your signature]'''

As a community member, you can show your support for a reduction of the Movement's environmental impact here.

{{:Environmental impact/Sig}}

== Oppose ==

* -- Please see the [[Talk:Environmental impact|Discussion page]]! ([[User:Idot|Idot]] ([[User talk:Idot|talk]]) 14:52, 8 February 2017 (UTC))

== History and further reading ==

=== Previous discussions and initiatives ===

* The environmental impact of the Wikimedia movement was first discussed on the [[Mailing lists/Overview|wikimedia-l mailing list]] (then called Foundation-l) in a thread titled [[mailarchive:wikimedia-l/2007-June/077173.html|"WMF-projects: Carbon neutral/low/aware website?"]] in June 2007.

* The issue was discussed again in May 2009 in a thread titled [[mailarchive:wikimedia-l/2009-May/098237.html|"Board statement regarding biographies of living people"]] (later "Green stuff") and again in December 2009 in a thread titled [[mailarchive:wikimedia-l/2009-December/102998.html|"Wikimedia and Environment"]]. [[User:Tim Starling|Tim Starling]] published two posts in his blog in 2009 titled [http://tstarling.com/blog/2009/12/should-wikimedia-buy-recs/ "Should Wikimedia buy RECs?"] and [http://tstarling.com/blog/2009/12/response-about-climate-change-action/ "Response to mailing list posts about climate change action"]. Also, there were discussions on [[User:Jimbo Wales|Jimbo Wales]]'s English Wikipedia talk page called [[:en:User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_77#Wikipedia_and_pollution|"Wikipedia and pollution"]] and [[:en:User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_196#.22values_and_beliefs.22|"values and beliefs"]] in 2011 and 2015, respectively. All these discussions yielded no tangible results.

* In June 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation issued a press release titled [[foundation:Press_releases/Wikimedia_Selects_EvoSwitch_June_2009|"Wikimedia Selects Green Data Center EvoSwitch as Internet HUB for Europe"]] after choosing the EvoSwitch server site in Amsterdam.

* When choosing a new data center in late 2013, the prospective site's "environmental impact" was named as an "important consideration for final site selection" in the [[foundation:RFP/2013_Datacenter#Primary_Requirements|request for proposals]]. This process lead to the selection of the CyrusOne datacenter in Dallas in 2014.

[[File:Wikimedia Conference 2016 – Thursday & Friday – 2.jpg|thumb|[[User:Gnom|Gnom]] presenting this initiative at the [[Wikimedia Conference 2016|2016 Wikimedia Conference]].]]

=== About this initiative ===

* Greenpeace USA published its [http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/legacy/Global/usa/planet3/PDFs/2015ClickCleanKeyFindings.pdf "Click Clean Scorecard"] report in in June 2015. Upon Greenpeace's request, the Wikimedia Foundation's communications team had confidentially provided data about the energy consumption of the Wikimedia servers.

* The current initiative was started by [[User:Aubrey|Aubrey]] in July 2015 in a wikimedia-l thread titled [[mailarchive:wikimedia-l/2015-July/078484.html|"Environmental impact of Wikipedia"]]. This page was [https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Environmental_impact&oldid=12619268 created] by [[User:Gnom|Gnom]] in July 2015.

* Initial talks with Wikimedia Foundation staff (including C-level staff and board members) took place at Wikimania in July 2015.

* A discussion about the energy consumption of the Wikimedia servers titled [[mailarchive:wikitech-l/2016-March/085128.html|"Reducing the environmental impact of the Wikimedia movement"]] took place on the wikitech-l mailing list in March 2016. A discussion about this initiative took place in the Facebook group [https://www.facebook.com/groups/wikipediaweekly/1002897089758122/?notif_t=like&notif_id=1461921539547748 "Wikimedia Weekly"] in April 2016. Also, the initiative was presented at the Wikimedia Conference in April 2016. There will also be [[wm2016:Posters#Let.27s_reduce_the_environmental_impact_of_Wikipedia.21|a poster]] at Wikimania 2016.

* Information regarding the energy consumption of the Wikimedia servers was first [https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Environmental_impact&type=revision&diff=15504605&oldid=15504467 published] in April 2016 with the help of the Wikimedia Foundation's communications team.

=== Next steps ===

* Currently, we are looking into the feasibility and cost of procuring renewable energy for the Wikimedia server sites in the United States. Any help with this is greatly appreciated!

* Also, the Wikimedia Foundation is investigating the possibility of adopting of a sustainable investment strategy for the Wikimedia endowment.

== References ==

<references />


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