Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Update: How Fuzzy are Sun Microsystems' Green Calculations?

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 23, 2008

Lots of high tech companies are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and there are mounting claims by each one over how green they are, how little they litter our landfills, and how much energy their products save. It's all about preventing the release of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide.

It was interesting to see the latest column by Dave Douglas, Chief Sustainability Officer at Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA), in "Environmental Reader" on the subject of "peak carbon."

Mr Douglas writes:

Peak Carbon is the point in time after which GHG emissions shrink each year, until the future point in time when we deem our emissions levels to be safe.

He makes a prediction: that the US reached peak carbon production in 2007 and now the US is adding less and less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year.

How did Mr Douglas come up with such a specific claim?

Do I have charts and graphs and sources for all of this? Nope, just an educated guess based on everything I've seen and read the last few years. So feel free to knock it around and let me know what you think.

See: Peak Carbon column

If educated guesses lead to a specific claim on peak carbon then what types of guesses is Sun Microsystems using in current or future specific claims on its green quotient? My guess is that others will take such claims with a pinch of salt.

UPDATE: Here are Sun's carbon footprint calculations. I'm sure that it is all kosher. It's just that the column's fuzzy math made me a little concerned about Sun's other math. http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/csr/report2007/eco/carbon_manage.jsp - - -

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