Carbon Credits for Online Backup

In a previous life I was the IT director at a medium sized company. We did the traditional tape backups and we paid an offsite storage company to pick up a box of tapes every morning and transport them to a secure vault in a remote location. At one point the CFO questioned me about why were spending $750 per month for this offsite vaulting service. We really didn't have a good alternative. Anything that involved an employee taking tapes to a bank safe-deposit box, or to their home, was just too unreliable and we weren't sure we could retrieve the tapes if an emergency occurred overnight or on a weekend or holiday. Some years later, online backup became a practical alternative and we are saving a ton of money on offsite vaulting, tape backup hardware, software and media. You have probably noticed from my postings that I am a big proponent of online backup. This comes from many years of experience with different backup solutions and strategies at various companies. I realize that online backup is not the solution for every situation, but it sure can save tons of money and frustration when done correctly. Speaking of tons, I just stumbled across a website that sells carbon credits. They help you figure out how many tons of CO2 your car is producing and then you can buy their carbon credits. The money you pay for the carbon credits is supposed to be used to fund clean energy projects. Heck, I think online backup qualifies as much as any windmill does.

I will not mention this website by name because I don't know if it is legitimate or not. It may just be an operation that is set up to get your money. I heard Al Gore even owns one of these operations. The website asked me what kind of car I own and how many miles per year I drive. I provided the info and and it informed me that my car emits 9,600 lbs of CO2 each year. Furthermore, I need to by a $49.95 carbon pass to offset the CO2 that my car emits. Oh yeah, they also charge shipping and handling for the carbon pass. My first impression was; Wow! my car emits 9600 lbs of something that I never see. OK, let's try to figure this out. I fill my car with gas about every 2 weeks, my tank holds 18 gallons. In one year, I fill-up about 24 times. If it were dead empty every time, then I would have put about 432 gallons of gasoline into my car every year. A quick check and I find out that gasoline weighs about 6.5 lbs per gallon. So I burn about 2808 lbs of gasoline per year and my car emits 9,600 lbs of CO2. I find that hard to believe, but I am not an expert, and I have no idea how to capture some CO2 from my exhaust pipe and get it on scale to measure this.

Regardless of how much CO2 my car uses, I have to believe those trucks that come and pick up the backup tapes and take them to the secure offsite storage vault are emitting way more CO2 than my little car. Lets say the offsite vaulting company sent a guy on bicycle to pick up the tapes. The bicycle itself emits no CO2, but the rider my fart every once in a while, especially if he stops at Taco Bell for lunch. I think that offsite vaulting company deserves some of that "carbon offset" money for using clean energy instead of a truck. Online backup services transport your data without a truck, a bicycle or a rider. The copper and fiber that transports the data emits no CO2. So online backup services should get piece of this carbon offset action!


Anonymous said...

Can't argue with the logic. Online backup is great, and its good for the environment too!

Anonymous said...

Hi there:

I strongly believe that online backup will become a highly accepted technology in the near future.

It is one of the best ways to mitigate risks of loss and disaster.

I get all my daily intake from a website dedicated for online backup