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Porn And Netflix Are Killing The Planet

Porn and Netflix are killing the planet as new study reveals video streaming produces 300m tonnes of CO2 each year.

Almost every electronic device requires electricity that is mostly generated using fossil fuels which produce carbon dioxide and contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases.

In what could be described as a shocking revelation, researchers found that online video streaming—which generates 60% of world data flows—produces around 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The number represents 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions of all digital devices (use and production included), and 1% of global emissions, i.e. as much as Spain.

And of this, the greenhouse gas emissions by video on demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are more than 100 million tonnes per year, almost one-third of the global emissions.

Almost every electronic device requires electricity. And to generate electricity, we still use fossil fuels, which produce carbon dioxide and contribute to the emmision of greenhouse gases.

According to a report on the unsustainable use of online video by French thinktank The Shift Project, another one-third of the emission comes from streaming videos with pornographic content.

 

As per the report, pornographic videos make up 27% of all online video traffic in the world. “Taken alone, in 2018, they (online pornography streaming) generated over 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, that is, as much as all France’s households: close to 0.2% of global emissions. From the standpoint of climate change and other planetary boundaries, it is not a question of being ‘for’ or ‘against’ pornography, telemedicine, Netflix or emails: the challenge is to avoid a use deemed precious from being impaired by the excessive consumption of another use deemed less essential,” researchers said in their findings.

“A large share of public opinion and our economic and political decision-makers still consider that digital technologies do not require the same level of scrutiny as other sectors, regarding their compatibility with energy and climate imperatives. Nonetheless, the direct and indirect environmental impacts linked to the uses of digital technologies are both unsustainable and increasing rapidly,” says the July 2019 study.

Greenhouse gas emissions generated by the different uses of online video in 2018. (Climate Crisis: The Unsustainable Use of Online Video by The Shift Project)
The report says that stored in data centers, videos are transferred to terminals (computers, smartphones, connected TVs, etc.) via networks (cables, optical fiber, modems, mobile network antennae, etc.) – processes requiring electricity “whose production consumes resources and usually involves carbon dioxide emissions.”

“The largest share of video flows can be placed in the online video category. It represented 1.05 thousand billion billion bytes (1.05 zetta-bytes) in 2018, that is, 60% of world data flows. It is thus the main type of video use and the main use of digital technology as a whole. This generates 306 million tons of carbon dioxide or 20% of the total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) due to digital technology (utilization and production of all equipment confounded) and nearly 1% of world greenhouse gas emissions,” says the report.

Distribution of online data flows between different uses in 2018 globally. (Climate Crisis: The Unsustainable Use of Online Video by The Shift Project)

According to the report, online video covers four main types of content—video on demand (34%) or videos hosted on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime; pornography (27%) or videos hosted on streaming platforms with pornographic content (Pornhub, YouPorn, XVideo, etc.); tubes (21%) or videos hosted on streaming platforms with various types of content for all audience categories such as YouTube, Dailymotion; and others (18%) that are videos hosted by social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Twitter).

Online video covers four main types of content, says the report. (Getty Images)
The researchers say that the distribution of online video traffic between the four categories of uses shows that none of these categories is negligible when compared to the others since each of them represents about 20 to 30% of global online video flows. “This means that if we wish to influence the dynamics of the evolution of the volumes of video data in view to implementing digital sobriety, an impact will be necessary on each one of these categories, or it will be necessary to focus efforts of sobriety on certain of them to preserve the others better,” they state in the findings.

A previous report of the thinktank in March 2019 had said that digital technologies currently emit 4% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and its energy consumption is increasing by 9% a year.

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