Latest study from climate experts suggest that even watching videos in the online streaming websites like Netflix will lead to the emission of a fair amount of carbon into the atmosphere.
Streaming from any website can lead to Carbon emissions. According to a few studies, while most of the online traffic is related to streaming videos, on websites like Netflix and Amazon Prime, the next biggest sector is online porn.
Watching a half-hour show would lead to emissions of 1.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, said Maxime Efoui-Hess of French think tank the Shift Project. That’s equivalent to driving 3.9 miles (6.28 kilometres).
“Digital videos come in very large file sizes and (are) getting bigger with each new generation of higher definition video,” said Gary Cook of Greenpeace, which monitors the IT sector’s energy footprint.
“More data equals more energy needed to maintain a system that is ready to stream this video to your device at a moment’s notice,” Cook told AFP.
“The changing screen size and related shift to digital video technology has set the stage for higher definition and thus larger file sizes that we are streaming,” said Cook.
Cook emphasizes the most impactful change consumers can make is through their wallets.
“Exercising collective responsibility, with individuals demanding internet giants rapidly transition their data centres to renewable energy, has been the biggest driver thus far,” he said.
Experts remain divided on how much that number will grow.
“For energy consumption to stay flat for the next five to 10 years, significant improvement in IT equipment and data centre energy performance must be made or our appetite for computations must diminish,” said Dale Sartor of the Center of Expertise for Data Centers, linked to the US Department of Energy.