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Minimising your carbon footprint is an environmental minefield these days, with new data coming out every week to make us feel bad about how much energy we actually use in our day-to-day lives.
This week our beloved Netflix is under the microscope, with experts believing the ease of streaming available to us today comes with a big old carbon emitting price tag.
Maxime Efoui-Hess of French think tank The Shift Project believes: "Watching a half-hour show leads to emissions of up to 1.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide." That's the equivalent of driving 6.28 kilometres.
Last year, online video streaming services produced carbon emissions equal to the size of Spain, and that amount may double, according to Efoui-Hess.
While 34 percent of online traffic comes from streaming videos on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu (amongst others), the next biggest group is online porn.
"Digital videos come in very large files sizes and get bigger with each new generation of higher definition video," said Gary Cook of Greenpeace.
Greenpeace have been monitoring the information technology sector's carbon footprint for some time and believe much of the energy needed for streaming services is consumed by the data centre, which is responsible for delivering data to your computer or device.
Cook explained: "More data equals more energy needed to maintain a system that is ready to stream video to your device at a moment's notice."
Netflix continues to expand globally, reporting a 53 percent increase in international revenue between 2017 and 2018, with corporate giants Disney and Apple to launch their own streaming services later this year.
Web-based video traffic is expected to quadruple by 2022, which will by then account for 80 percent of all internet traffic, according to the CISCO Network.
The Shift Project are now offering a web-browser extension that monitors internet use for the environmentally inclined, displaying the amount of electricity used, the carbon emission levels and the car-driving equivalent of those emissions.
But Cook believes: "Exercising collective responsibility with individuals demanding internet giants rapidly transition their data centers to renewable energy", is our best hope so far.
To pressure the Australian government into doing their part to limit the impacts of global warming, click here.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
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