Environmental Concerns and Sustainability (s12y) of Web Technologies

19 October 2021


AramZS, bdekoz, db, Eric_Siow, fantasai, Gerald, jake_, Jay, jeff, jyasskin, kirkwood, marie_s, Michael Champion, naomi, plh, Ralph, rgrant, tantek

Meeting minutes


tantek: Do we want to record the session? Does anyone have a preference?

Jake: I would prefer recorded, to be able to refer back.

tantek: OK, seems no one is opposed, so we'll record the meeting


tantek: Welcome to session

tantek: I'm Tantek Çelik

tantek: at W3C for quite some time, also AC rep of Mozilla

tantek: Here to talk about sustainability and environmental concerns of what we do here at W3C

tantek: Will share some relevant links

tantek: A few points I wanted to go over

tantek: outline of the urgency

tantek: Something that's changed recently, and why topic particularly interesting this year

tantek: is the IPCC report this year

tantek: Gave us the most dire warning we've ever seen about the state of the climate crisis and our impact on it

tantek: driven by energy usage, fossil fuels in particular

tantek: Report was significant enough stepping up of the importance of why this is urgent that folks like the BBC, usually a restrained publication, used expressions like "code red for humanity"

tantek: I think it's not an understatement

tantek: If areas we're involved in can make situation much worse, or can make the situation better, then that's something to keep in mind with the work that we do and the things we create

<AramZS> Press release of the report: https://www.ipcc.ch/2021/08/09/ar6-wg1-20210809-pr/

tantek: I wanted to start with the first principle, which is, can we actually follow Hippocratic Oath here, and "do no harm" here as well'

<AramZS> Report in detail - https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/

tantek: Don't harm the patient, don't harm the planet

tantek: Especially can we do no new harms

tantek: Closest we have to that here at W3C is the TAG's Ethical Web Principles

<AramZS> Mentioned BBC report: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58130705

tantek: Especially, "Web must be environmentally sustainable platform"

tantek: Talk not only about power consumption (which is primary source of making things worse, via carbon emissions)

tantek: but also impact of devices thrown away, hardware turnover

tantek: As much as standards we make shape updates to software, how does it affect how long you can use the device before needing to buy a new device

<AramZS> Our ethical web principles, anchor linked to discussed section - https://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/ethical-web-principles/#sustainable

tantek: Right now only a TAG Ethical Web Principle

<db> Note: electricity != emissions

tantek: As part of Do No Harm, I'd like to encourage us to place sustainability

tantek: alongside accessibility and internationalization

tantek: those are well-accepted areas of horizontal review

<db> All electricity generation on the planet accounts for about 25% of global emissions

tantek: and areas where, if there are blocking items, that are harmful for a11y or i18n, we stop and say, need to fix this first

tantek: I propose that we adopt that same level of pulling the emergency brake, as it were, for horizontal reviews of sustainability

tantek: for energy use or device obsolence, should review whether it causes some non-trivial increase in energy use or lifespan of devices

tantek: On the other hand, if spec can reduce energy --

<db> Note: between 50-60% of electricity generated every year is totally lost to waste - the inability to feasibly use the electricity generated

tantek: Which standards often do, because standards allow for increased efficiency in many cases

tantek: We should also avoid amplifying existing known harms

tantek: areas of tech that we know are harmful to environment

tantek: key area here that I think has an impact here

tantek: is what are tech areas that are consuming lots of energy?

tantek: enough that it can be measured in comparison to energy consumption of entire countries

<db> Energy != emissions, a fallacy is being posed right now

tantek: biggest one there is proof of work blockchains, Bitcoin in particular

<db> NYT article may be the worst article on this subject ever written

tantek: NYTimes did an infographic on how mining one BTC was very small amount of energy, but now uses more electricity than most countries

tantek: This is an area where we know there's harm happening

<AramZS> Page 43 of the IPCC's report on global warning specifies energy emission and power plants as an issue - https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/faqs/IPCC_AR6_WGI_FAQs.pdf

tantek: there is disproportionate use of energy

db: What's the net emissions?

tantek: One reason, in this case, bitcoin usage of electricity, some proportion causing emissions is something that on its own is causing harm

tantek: were we to legitimize its use as part of a standards, we know that the network effects of Web would exponentially increase use of that technology

tantek: so that's a decision before us

<db> Note: statements are being posed as fact that are not just disputed, they are abjectly false

tantek: not only should we not standardize on Bitcoin, should avoid legitimizing it

tantek: one argument has been to let markets decide

tantek: example here is DID specification

<AramZS> Note this report on bitcoin mining reopening power plants that were closed specifically because of air quality issues - https://apnews.com/article/bitcoin-mining-new-york-power-plant-climate-change-516dbd319394a6a30f83d94947abad20

tantek: I will push back on that a little bit because as we are seeing the existing cryptocurrency markets themselves, they're demonstrating that they're optimized for financial gain at the expense of all other considerations

tantek: there are groups starting new fossil fuel power plants just to mine Bitcoin

tantek: Can find examples in popular media easily

<rgrant> Bitcoin emissions also have huge pressures to find sustainable energy. You can learn more here: https://niccarter.info/wp-content/uploads/TBW-Presentation-Template_2021_nc.pdf

tantek: That's happening on its own, and we don't want to amplify that

tantek: SO 1. Don't do harm 2. Don't amplify existing harm

<db> The vast majority of POW use is with green and renewable sources

tantek: Third example is to reduce existing non-trivial harms

tantek: examples

<db> the estimate is well over a supermajority of consumption

tantek: Here's a study recently published by EU

tantek: found double-digits percentage of energy usage on smartphones is caused by unwanted ad tech

tantek: This is an existing envirionmental harm, coming directly from Web usage on mobile phones today

<db> Note: POW systems are projected to be GHG neutral or negative in the next 10-15 years

tantek: So can W3C look into reduce these effects, which are unrelated to the uses of the Web that users want

<AramZS> Speaker has cited: https://groenlinks.nl/sites/groenlinks/files/2021-09/CE_Delft_210166_Carbon_footprint_unwanted_data-use_smartphones.pdf

tantek: This is btw in priority order

tantek: 1. Don't add new harms, add HR to catch those

tantek: 2. Don't amplify existing

tantek: 3. If areas we can reduce Web's energy usage over time, that's where we need to be

tantek: I took these from IPCC report

tantek: It's not good enough to go carbon neutral

tantek: The report was that we need to reduce the total

tantek: not just net zero, but aiming as close to actual zero as we can

<AramZS> Also worth noting when discussing the impact of bitcoin mining on less robust energy ecosystems outside of US/Canada/Europe - https://gizmodo.com/iran-bans-crypto-mining-after-months-of-blackouts-1846991039

tantek: Those are my 3 points

<rgrant> I suggest 4: don't shoot yourself in the foot by ignoring positive value from using energy. Unfortunately, it's not compatible with purely reducing energy usage.

tantek: In response to some of these, I want to address some common arguments

tantek: "what about"-ism

tantek: common enough method of argument, or fallacy

tantek: entire wikipedia page aobut it

<AramZS> Whataboutism - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

tantek: "What about energy usage of CSS?" "What about energy usage of video on the Web?"

tantek: It's an attempt to deflect from the point being made to a different argument

tantek: short version is, if worried about energy production, but largest sources the most

tantek: we don't see e.g. NYT writing about energy consumption of CSS

tantek: very few about video

tantek: much less than proof of work blockchain

<db> They don't write about clothes dryer consumption because it's not a hot topic they think they can drive clicks to

tantek: So as much as I want an open discussion, would want to avoid such style of arguments

<AramZS> Additional article about local climate impact created by mining - https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/07/bitcoin-power-plant-is-turning-a-12000-year-old-glacial-lake-into-a-hot-tub/

tantek: Second style of argument is the nirvana fallacy

<AramZS> Nirvana Fallacy - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy

tantek: Style of argument in which comparison of actual functioning system with proposal, which worked as expected, would be a better replacement for existing system

tantek: That's often used in various Bitcoin arguments, in terms of fiat currencies consuming huge amount of energy to run (depending how you measure it), and if we switch everything to Bitcoin, would use less energy

tantek: but that's comparing a theoretical system with an existing system

tantek: so that's why consider it a nirvana argument

tantek: That's it for prepared remarks

<AramZS> An additional rather long article that runs through some of the common objections to the bitcoin<>mining energy question - https://ketanjoshi.co/2021/03/11/bitcoin-is-a-mouth-hungry-for-fossil-fuels/

db: Want to make a few remarks. Ignoring fallacies. Everything we do as technologists has impact on energy use, so we have to compare things.

db: Electricity is not emissions

db: In long scheme of time, electricity will be carbon-free

db: Emissions is not electricity

db: Article in NY Times is worst article

db: They focus on electricity number. It drives clicks

db: As much electricity as this tiny island!

db: But they didn't dig into emissions, because it takes more work

db: but other people did

<AramZS> Here's an article that digs into emissions from The Telegraph - https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2021/01/28/inside-dirty-world-bitcoin-mining/

db: Global emissions is 25% from electricity

db: So something consuming 0.25% of electricity

db: is only 1/4 of that is emissions

<rgrant> Here is a critique of the NYT's reporting on Bitcoin (i think it's a different article, but same topic) https://medium.com/@nic__carter/on-bitcoin-the-gray-lady-embraces-climate-lysenkoism-a2d31e465ec0

db: for Bitcoin, would be 0.35% of emissions [??]

<AramZS> Here's the NYT's article I think (not sure if this is the one) - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/09/03/climate/bitcoin-carbon-footprint-electricity.html

db: But Bitcoin is one of the greenest verticals on the planet

db: Bitcoin .. % renewable

<AramZS> Here's a defended analysis of Bitcoin's carbon footprint - https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption/

db: Bitcoin is 50-70% reneable

db: One reason is that renewable is not timable

db: and Bitcoin can use the excess at non-peak times

db: Flare gas is a net negative carbon

db: Bitcoin miners are going around, capping the stacks, and creating a net negative carbon emission

db: by using electricity from these

db: Bitcoin is 3x cleaner than average grid

db: That gives you roughtly 0.045% of emissions

<AramZS> Here's a published study that is part of the above's source, but notable enough to pull out. The abstract notes: "[we] estimate Bitcoin's e-waste and find that it adds up to 30.7 metric kilotons annually, per May 2021. This number is comparable to the amount of small IT and telecommunication equipment waste produced by a country like the Netherlands" https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921344921005103?dgcid=author

db: If we look even deeper, the majority of electricity used by Bitcoin over 50% is waste electricity

db: 50-60% of electricity generated every year is wasted, because it can't be stored

db: Bitcoin looks for these sources, because it's the cheapest

<AramZS> It especially notes that many have "thus far ignored that Bitcoin miners cycle through a growing amount of short-lived hardware that could exacerbate the growth in global e-waste."

db: On off-peak hours, they'll consume that electricity

db: So after you lop off half the electricity being waste electricity

db: end up with 0.0225% of emissions

db: and that's net attributable

db: This is what Bitcoin is actually adding

db: It wouldn't be fair to knock Bitcoin for using waste electricity, etc. Need to consider what is it actually adding to carbon emissions.

tantek: OK, going to cut there at 5m. Don't want to spend 5min per article

<rgrant> Ahh, but don't forget my link about about how poorly NYT uses its facts.

tantek: A lot of the points you're making, to get to 100yrs from now, we have to survive the next 15

<db> Bitcoin will be neutral or negative within 10-15 years

tantek: arguments about Bitcoin folks connecting to unused sources of energy are similarly taken up by folks setting up data centers in general, for actual user demand

tantek: how much of that energy could be used for general purpose Web, rather than just Bitcoin mining?

tantek: IF data center used for Bitcoin not being used for other purposes

tantek: lastly, push back on argument that Bitcoin is one of the greenest consumers

tantek: first don't believe it's well-established

<db> You can't build datacenters near volcanos

tantek: and there's also a lot of Bitcoin buying up renewables and driving up price for cities, etc.

<db> This is a false 0-sum argument

tantek: so it pushes other consumers to carbon-based sources

tantek: Lastly it's easy to find examples of Bitcoin miners literally firing up new fossil fuel plants to power Bitcoin mining

<Zakim> rgrant, you wanted to suggest that a precautionary principle against using energy is not appropriate when human rights are at risk and to push back against web usage making Bitcoin usage exponentially more harmful

jake_: Glad to see work here happening

jake_: I'm Jake Holland, chairing Multicast CG

jake_: We believe sustainability is a benefit of trying to deploy multicast

<jake_> https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200305-why-your-internet-habits-are-not-as-clean-as-you-think

jake_: One argument in chat is BBC writeup of study

jake_: In the 2019 study, using the Bitcoin comparison, the numbers they had had Bitcoin at something like 15th of the amount of video used

jake_: Video was coming in at 1% of total carbon emissions

jake_: This is the number I'm trying to pull down with our work

jake_: Many ? don't have to be in operation to ....

jake_: If there is content sufficent to make use of

jake_: But the day to day utilization, once it's there and deployed, ~20% of what's there, can probably be done with multicast

jake_: especially when running DoD on carousel

jake_: Not just about big live events, but they're why things break in the first place

jake_: Multicast CG is new, founded in June

jake_: In charter, I did go look for sustainability targetted groups, found 2 which I listed

jake_: Web we can afford, and another specifically about sustainability

jake_: Is there an organized community trying to do this?

jake_: Seemed pretty dead from the archives

jake_: Other is, is there a way to leverage interest in these topics to promote the type of efficiency gains we want

jake_: and to get more buy-in from a broader audience

<AramZS> An assessment of multiple studies notes "the instant suspension of every project in the pipeline would make [a rise of global temperatures to] 2°C achievable only if accompanied by the decommissioning of one-fifth of all power plants running on fossil fuels (this estimate is as of 2018 – more years or decades of business-as-usual would raise the requirement)." - Pg 67 from "How to Blow Up a Pipeline" by Andreas Malm.

jake_: It's been a bit of a struggle to get people to take it seriously

jake_: I work for Akamai, and doing work at IETF

jake_: now trying to get into Web context, because Web video makes up such a large amount if Internet traffic

jake_: What are the right next steps?

jake_: Can I join forces with anyone who is interested in this?

tantek: Definitely sympathize with that

tantek: That's why I proposed this session.

tantek: TAG is the closest thing to a home for this, because of the TAG Ethical Web Principle of sustainability

tantek: some additional discussion on design principles

tantek: I would love to see a Sustainability Interest Group or something similar, that could serve a function similar to PING for horizontal review

<AramZS> +1 I like the idea of a review process for sustainability

tantek: I don't know what next steps are for that, but talk to your AC rep, I believe they have the ability to kick off a proposal to make this an actual interest group similar to Privacy, Security, i18n, etc.

tantek: And thanks for the background about Multicast, I didn't know about that

jake_: We are meeting next Weds, if anyone interested we'll be giving an intro

rgrant: Thanks for hosting this

rgrant: I would like to suggest a precautionary principle against using additional energy is the wrong metric and the wrong value, because it's in conflict when human rights are at risk

rgrant: We have conflicting principles in the EWP

rgrant: I think when there are conflicting principles, then most of us in a pinch would prefer to save a human life

rgrant: I think as precautionary principle, if we say don't use extra energy, I think you mean we should not pollute additional carbon

<AramZS> Note: Excess use of energy towards unneeded uses can threaten human rights as well, worth noting. See: https://apnews.com/article/iran-media-social-media-bitcoin-coronavirus-pandemic-6d1c703a7faa1f85b0f94011259ec63e

rgrant: as Daniel pointed out, can use more electricity without extra emissions

rgrant: but principle doesn't allow us to rank our values

rgrant: that's one critical point against this idea that we should not use any additional energy

rgrant: other thing that this argument ignores is that the W3C adopting DID methods which are decentralized, and which may allow people to create DID methods on top of Bitcoin,

rgrant: this will not change the demand for mining hash rate

<db> Net zero or negative heating of homes/buildings: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/north-vancouver-bitcoin-mining-heating-lonsdale-energy-corporation

rgrant: it won't change the amount of carbon emitted

rgrant: other than a theoretical possibility of additional demand communicated through transaction fees

<AramZS> Worth noting that the "battery" argument is addressed here: https://www.ft.com/content/0448b44d-1d78-48f8-8ca8-6edae7976a5f

rgrant: I've calculated what the carbon cost of a transaction in Bitcoin is

<db> Net negative reduction of greenhouse gases through flare capture: https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2261931-bitcoin-miners-help-us-oil-producers-cut-flaring

rgrant: this evening my calculation is it's about 285g of carbon

<db> Average reduction in GHGs from flare capture:

<db> Methan 98% CO2e 63% CO 95% VOC 100% NOx 89%

rgrant: to relate, that's less than half of the average American hot shower given average temp of 112degF etc.

<db> The levels of reduction are astounding, and simply cannot be ignored

rgrant: making typical assumptions about sources of water/heat/etc

<rgrant> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oynOk_95jZRBWHfeuX_zdZ31C0j48vVU2EU2qDzj8DY

rgrant: I've been pasting into this google document ehre

rgrant: so please pardon incomplete state of doc

rgrant: to wrap this up, who decides what is more valuable/


rgrant: It is not W3C's place to say not to use a DID method that is truly decentralized

<db> This is a great (albeit overly dramatic) recitation of the facts as they pertain to this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-7dMVcVWgc

rgrant: those of us who did good work in DID space, think our method is the best

rgrant: I think mine has some of the best decentralization characteristics

rgrant: Many others only require a few key players to be compromised to compromise the method

rgrant: controlled by governments etc.

rgrant: I think decentralization is a real benefit

rgrant: once you have real benefits, have to ask, is it appropriate to be working against this?

rgrant: and not asking, well, what can I work towards?

rgrant: I think that's not whataboutism

<db> Bitcoin's path to net neutral/negative: https://nydig.com/bitcoin-net-zero/

rgrant: I do think we need to dissolve our problems with nuclear energy

rgrant: unfortunatly 80s movement was against that

<db> 74 pages, one of the most conclusive, data-rich academic investigations in history

<AramZS> A good evenhanded article towards mining bitcoin with nuclear energy (at least imo) https://gizmodo.com/mining-bitcoin-using-nuclear-power-may-be-fine-actuall-1847825102

rgrant: but I want to help, I want to help keep reporters alive in other countries who are reporting sources of pollution

tantek: I understand motivation of wanting to help

tantek: I think we have different perspective on some of these things

tantek: I don't like "this principle vs other principle" antagonism

tantek: esp for sustainability

tantek: there's a lot of evidence that environmental harms directly harm human rights

tantek: one of the best ways to help human rights is environmental improvements, because harms will be worse

<tantek> https://github.com/w3ctag/ethical-web-principles/issues/52#issuecomment-931379281

tantek: This is not whataboutism, but it is example of nirvana fallacy

tantek: ...

tantek: Not going to get argue about for or against human rights

tantek: of course support human rights

<db> We just need another system that solves the chronological oracle problem to have a safe basis for digital identity

tantek: not follow that key to human rights is decentralization or any specific technology

<rgrant> are you against decentralization?

<db> Anyone have another system that solves the chronological oracle problem?

[fantasai points out time check]

Jay: I'm happy to be in this discussion

Jay: I think that because of the time I will be briefl

Jay: I think we need as W3C, some kind of evidence-based

Jay: sustainability white paper

Jay: as a kind of horizontal issue

Jay: because at this moment the blockchain PoW is similar one to consume the energy

Jay: but each technology also consumes energy for computing

Jay: So in that sense, how to think of that issue?

<AramZS> A good paper here on the basis for understanding the questions of justice that come with "

Jay: We need a common understanding for sustainability at W3C

Jay: To do so we need evidence

<AramZS> environmental disorganization - https://academic.oup.com/bjc/article/53/6/997/418934

<tantek> aside: on the cost of a bitcoin transaction: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/sep/17/waste-from-one-bitcoin-transaction-like-binning-two-iphones

Jay: If we can share such a white paper, it will be easy to understand the ?

Jay: So my proposal is to generate a white paper

tantek: excellent proposal

jeff: As background, I think we're conflating 2 topics here

jeff: One is do we need to focus on sustainability

jeff: Second topic is question around Bitcoin and DiDs

jeff: want to keep separate

jeff: On first topic, want to give tantek credit for raising this at a high level

jeff: I think this is challenge of our generation and next several

jeff: Given our values, I think it's embarassing we don't have such a focus

jeff: so +1 to idea of making that a stronger focus within W3C

jeff: But second topic raised, I think those illustrate some of the challenges of raising the topic

jeff: Different ppl have different points of view

jeff: Daniel raised the perspective about what's net attributable

jeff: and rgrant raised issue of human rights and tradeoffs

jeff: We depth need to be able to reason well about this topic

jeff: Suggestion of IG might be a good approach

jeff: We also need to build the expertise within our community

jeff: tantek raised examples of other values-based work like privacy, i18n, accessibility

jeff: It's taken years to build that expertise in our community

jeff: so how do we build that expertise for sustainability?

jyasskin: Jeffrey Yasskin, Google Chrome

jyasskin: Agree with Jeff it would be useful to have sustainability principles and some kind of review for proposals in general

jyasskin: I generally agree with Tantek. Using cryptocurrency examples and DID as an example helps us show what we need to do to address sustainability

jyasskin: I agree with Tantek that these tech are net bad

<db> All I have done is 200 hours of research, but I guess maybe others have done more

jyasskin: but we need to evaluate all technology, not just Bitcoin

jyasskin: not just ones we pay the most attention to

jyasskin: but be more objective about it

jyasskin: and let ppl negotiate and discuss and come to consensus about what the impacts actually are

jyasskin: 2 aspects to consider

<jeff> [db, I wasn't discounting your research, I was only suggesting that we need a place for people to share and talk about their different perspectives.]

jyasskin: There's choices in how to accomplish a goal

jyasskin: decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials both have crypto and non-crypto methods

jyasskin: We can compare those methods

jyasskin: Lots of operations onto a main chain transaction

jyasskin: ...

<db> Nice to see someone talking about the details here!

jyasskin: can write in sustainability review how they compare

<db> Kudos

jyasskin: Currently Bitcoin is small wrt financial transactions

jyasskin: scaling up to all financial transactions would scale up, but that's not linear

jyasskin: would have to think about how we can measure

jyasskin: not something we can do in TPAC side session

<rgrant> no, carbon impact does not increase at all if more Bitcoin transactions occur. this is factually wrong.

jyasskin: Something needs to be done via consensus process into a specification

<Zakim> Ralph, you wanted to ask how we weigh deployed tech vs new tech

Ralph: Another topic for this future CG or IG

Ralph: a lot of industries have benefit of planned obsolescence

<db> Good points jyasskin - and to put an explanation point on it: https://www.newsweek.com/bitcoin-mining-track-consume-worlds-energy-2020-744036

Ralph: thinks get thrown away and re-implemented after awhile

Ralph: On the Web we don't like to lose access to content that has been published

<db> Turns out we haven't used all the world's electricity....

Ralph: but I wonder, how do we avoid the problem of grandfathering all the resource-expensive stuff we've already done

Ralph: while we're evaluating the benefit of a new technology?

Ralph: just throwing out that question, can't answer today

AramZS: I've been pasting links from what you mentioned and from my own sources

AramZS: Most studies show we're on path of 2 deg C increase in global temp

AramZS: We can talk about utilization of existing power grids and batteries, etc.

AramZS: But it's not just about not increasing overall use

AramZS: but also about decreasing our use

AramZS: It's not only important for climate change

AramZS: but also for human rights issues

AramZS: Much higher impact on global south in a warmer, more polluted world

AramZS: so that puts some urgency towards this

AramZS: So I think this is a great idea

AramZS: Should reduce power usage

AramZS: Even if uses minimal power, if can do less power, should do so

AramZS: And then have to look at, is it worthwhile to do this thing at all?

AramZS: Have a conversation, review, and consensus

AramZS: Not a lot of time, and issue is urgent, and increasingly compounded

tantek: Yes, shouldn't let perfect be enemy of the good

Eric_Siow: Eric Siow from Intel

Eric_Siow: AC rep and on Advisory Board as well

Eric_Siow: Attending call because I wanted to listen to discussion here

Eric_Siow: because I'm anticipating the DID debate to continue to escalate

Eric_Siow: and at some point may reach W3C Council for debate

Eric_Siow: I really wanted to get myself educated here

Eric_Siow: I'm going to share with all of you the questions I have in my mind

Eric_Siow: So as a group we can figure out how we move towards resolving those questions

Eric_Siow: I hear statistics thrown around from both sides

Eric_Siow: My concern is that both sides are going to ignore the other side's argument

Eric_Siow: As a group, how do we reach some kind of objective meausre, where we look at the data and make a decision based on objective arguments?

<db> Love the data, totally agree, Eric

Eric_Siow: Number 2, want to caution all of us that we're so focused on Bitcoin or proof of work, that we ignore the other methods and blockchain tech, like proof of stake, that consume less energy

<db> Deterministic chronological oracles are the gold standard

Eric_Siow: So let's not conflate that when discussing sustainability and DID

Eric_Siow: Another question in my mind, when you look at W3C standards, they're really Recommendations with support from Members to implement them

<db> Subjective chronological oracles unfortunately prone to centralization and oligarchical capture

Eric_Siow: Unlike 3GPP that has mandatory features that everyone has to comply with for interop

Eric_Siow: My concern is, whether we standardize or not, how effective would it be in terms of bringing a change in behavior

Eric_Siow: wrt Bitcoin?

Eric_Siow: I don't have an answer, but these are my questions

<rgrant> on the point of whether did:btcr and did:ion will affect bitcoin mining, it definitely will not. it's a great question to ask!

tantek: OK, we're over time now, so closing the meeting

<AramZS> To be clear, I'm not just focused on bitcoin, though it is def sticking its neck out among the issues. There are many uses of energy that need to be examined and potentially addressed.

<db> +1

<AramZS> +1

<jake_> +1, the DID debate seems like a bit of a red herring to me. It would be great to get to proof of stake instead, and worth doing, but short of a more compelling analysis than the ny times on the harm caused, DID isn't the best focus to me.

<jake_> but also, like Jeff said, +1 to raising sustainability :_

<jake_> :)

<rgrant> to restate again: you're worried about carbon pollution, not energy usage.

End of Session

<db> I can talk about POS vs POW if folks are curious

<jyasskin> jake_: Proof of stake is definitely more environmentally friendly, but I'm worried about its implications on governance. It's literally rule-by-the-rich, right?

<db> there are some issues in there that lead to some unfortunate issues

<db> *problems in there

<rgrant> thanks Eric, your perspective as a decision maker is helpful for us to figure out how to communicate..

[Eric emphasizes that we need to apply consistency ]

<AramZS> I understand your issue with using energy as a proxy for pollution, but considering that we do not have access to information about the energy source when we are executing code that consumes it (at least within the context of the type of proposals in the w3) I think it makes the most useful proxy for how we analyze proposals.

<jyasskin> rgrant: On how carbon intensity scales with transaction count, my impression is that the price of resources wasted on mining scales with the total transaction fees. In practice, individual transaction fees seem to have increased as total transactions increased, which makes me worry that total energy use will scale faster than linearly as more people adopt the system.

<db> sorry

<jyasskin> rgrant: I have to run off to dinner now, but I'd love to see an analysis of that as part of DID Method standardization.

<jake_> It's outside my expertise, really, but I thought proof of stake was more putting up a risk for going against consensus. I'm not sure we escape rule-by-the-rich no matter what we do.

<rgrant> jyasskin: feel free to pm me an email address.

<db> It's all the heavy iframe's fault

<db> lol

<AramZS> The energy we are producing now is already too much. As I noted above, we would have to decommission 1/5th of power plants running on fossil fuels (according to one estimate) to reach 2c.

<AramZS> freakin iframes man! :D

<AramZS> Do we need to tell the agent to record the minutes or will it do it by itself?

<jake_> https://www.w3.org/community/wwca/

<jake_> https://www.w3.org/community/webeco/

<rgrant> jyasskin: resources are not wasted. people find value in participation in a truly decentralized system.

[discussion of chartering an s12y group]

[Eric notes that group needs to have an impact, not just talk about stuff]

<rgrant> jyasskin: there's no evidence that mining will grow faster than linearly with a particular transaction fee market.

<rgrant> jyasskin: one reason that it would not is that the subsidy may be higher than demand for transaction fees. we see today that some transactions are getting through on the lowest transaction fee possible (1 sat/vbyte). when subsidy is gone, hashrate may decrease.

<tantek> Title: Environmental Concerns and Sustainability (s12y) of Web Technologies

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