This is where your cloud data lives

Fintan McDonnell, Video Producer at the Thomson Reuters Foundation

From phone pictures and social media trends to speedy online bookings, much of modern life is powered by fast, reliable connection to the cloud.

But environmentalists say our addiction to 24/7 data is unsustainable.

Cloud data is stored in huge, power-hungry warehouses called data centres around the world.

Tech haven Ireland plays host to about 80 data centres, which collectively use up about a fifth of the country’s power – about the same as all urban households. 

Environmental groups and local councils are calling for a ban on future data centres, arguing they frustrate Ireland’s commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2030.

The industry says it's powering Ireland’s clean energy transition, and must meet the explosive growth in data from AI and virtual reality.

So what can we learn from Ireland’s battle to balance our demand for digital convenience with decarbonisation?

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