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The dark cloud

How the digital world
is costing the earth

Published three years after The Rare Metals War, The Dark Cloud: How the online world is costing the earth sets out to scrap the myth of the “digitalisation” of our plugged-in lifestyles and sheds light on the pollution caused by digital technology. This work, which took the Veolia Foundation’s Environmental Book Prize 2022, has  been published in Australia and will soon be published in the USA and the UK (September, 2023). 



The book

A simple "like" sent from our smartphones mobilizes what will soon constitute the largest infrastructure built by man. This small notification, crossing the seven operating layers of the Internet, travels around the world, using submarine cables, telephone antennas, and data centers, as far as the Arctic Circle.

It turns out that the "dematerialized" digital world, essential for communicating, working, and consuming, is much more tangible than we would like to believe. Today, it absorbs 10 per cent of the world's electricity and represents nearly 4 per cent of the planet's carbon dioxide emissions. We are struggling to understand these impacts, as they are obscured to us in the mirage of "the cloud".

At a time of the deployment of 5G, connected cars, and artificial intelligence, The Dark Cloud, the result of an investigation carried out over two years on four continents, reveals the anatomy of a technology that is virtual only in name. Under the guise of limiting the impact of humans on the planet, is already asserting itself as one of the major environmental challenges of the twenty-first century.


‘An incredible investigation’  – France Inter

‘Absolutely fascinating’  – Ali Baddou, “C l’hebdo,” France 5   

‘A landmark book’  – Le Figaro

‘A fascinating work’  – Le Monde  

‘An illuminating study’  – L’Obs

‘A riveting investigation that, just like a thriller, sets out to open our eyes about the material impact as well as the economic and geopolitical issues of a totally wired world.’  – ADN

‘Insightful’  – Sciences et Avenir

‘A colossal work’  – Marianne


Veolia Foundation’s Environmental Book Prize 2022
Elina & Louis Pauwels Award 2022

Shortlisted for the Albert Londres Award 2022


The book has been translated into Italian (Luiss University Press), Japanese (Hara Shobo) and English (Scribe). Translations into Korean (Galapagos) and Turkish (Iş Kültür Publishing) are also planned in 2023 and 2024. 


To acquire foreign rights to the book, contact Julián Nossa: or Sophie Langlais: 


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