The thorny question of carbon emissions from cloud computing has raised its head again. There's been plenty of debate as to whether cloud computing is good or bad at curbing carbon emissions.

This time, cloud is good for the environment with Microsoft making the claim that cloud technology can shave 30 percent off carbon emissions per user. Earlier this year, Greenpeace claimed that cloud was more harmful to the environment, a view backed up by Australian researchers two months ago.

Microsoft has got some heavyweight backing for its view. A survey carried out by Accenture ccenture and WSP Environment & Energy, looked at three widely-deployed and commonly-used Microsoft applications for email, content sharing and customer relationship management within cloud-based data centres and within corporate environments.

The Accenture study examined the carbon footprint of server, networking and storage infrastructure for three different deployment sizes (100, 1,000 and 10,000 users, and found that the smaller the organisation, the larger the benefit of switching to the cloud.

“The study’s findings confirm what many organisations have already discovered: Cloud computing is more economical and IT resources are used more efficiently when business applications run in a shared environment. That’s because, among other benefits, cloud computing delivers multiple efficiencies, which contribute to the reduction of energy consumption per unit of work, thereby helping to significantly reduce carbon emissions,” said James Harris, Accenture’s director of cloud services.