Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
When people think of carbon emissions they probably think of cars and power plants but you’d probably be surprised to learn that video streaming is becoming an increasing source of GHG emissions as our Netflix and Youtube addictions grow. A study lead by the French think tank The Shift Project discovered that 1% of all global carbon emissions, or 300 million annual tons of CO2, can be attributed solely to online video streaming. This is the carbon equivalent to Spain’s total annual emissions – the 12th biggest polluter in the world.
Powering the Digital Age: Over the past couple of years, online and mobile video usage has exploded.
Currently, about 60% of all online traffic is dedicated to video streaming. This number is only expected to increase as the energy consumption of digital technologies grows by 9% every year.
Netflix and Prime video alone make up 34% of these emissions, with pornography videos coming in a close second at 27%.
This surge in demand for internet-based streaming and streaming platforms has made data centers – the factories of the information age – one of the “largest sources of new electricity demand globally,” according to a Greenpeace report. This has fueled greater demand for coal, oil, and gas – energy sources that are causing the climate crisis (this is especially a problem here locally in Virginia).
Why This Matters: Since streaming is here to stay so it’s up to consumers to be aware, for streaming platforms to green their services and for governments to ensure that the platforms are investing in change. Changes to platform interfaces, like the removal of autoplay, could reduce the number of videos streamed and result in 550,000 fewer tons of emissions. Regulations on technologies that limit the amount of data accessible to users or the way services are designed could lead to the more sustainable management of our digital infrastructure. The transition to renewable energy in powering our numerous data centers would reduce reliance on fossil fuels and allow us to watch Stranger Things with less guilt.
On Friday, the Energy Department announced it will provide more than $120m in funding to create “coal products innovation centers… [that] …will focus on manufacturing value-added, carbon-based products from coal, as well as developing new methods to extract and process rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal.”
Why This Matters: Coal innovation is an oxymoron or maybe just moronic – and certainly a dubious investment.
Tesla has announced that on September 15 — “Battery Day” — the company will reveal details about its “million mile” battery. Two weeks ago, in an interview with Bloomberg, the Chairman of the Chinese company that will make the battery for Tesla, Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited or “CATL” said they are ready to build the […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.