Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019

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Online porn videos produce as much CO2 as a small country

2 min read

WTF?! After seeing record worldwide temperatures over the last two weeks, July looks set to become the hottest month ever measured. While many people try to do their part to limit climate change by recycling and using gas-guzzling vehicles less often, it seems there’s another way to help the planet: watch fewer online porn videos.

The conclusion comes from a new report by French think tank The Shift Project, a non-profit advocating for the move to a post-carbon economy. It writes that online video generates 60 percent of all online data flow, or 1 zettabyte of data (one thousand billion billion bytes), and it generates 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year—the same as Spain. Around a third of this comes from video-on-demand services such as Netflix, while another third is the result of of online pornographic videos. That means porn clips are generating as much CO2 as Belgium and Nigeria.

Producing and using digital technologies requires plenty of resources and electricity. The Shift Project estimates that energy consumption in this area is growing 9 percent per year. “The environmental impact of digital technology is now recognized as unsustainable, but continues to grow,” it writes.

With many companies now launching game streaming services, and more people streaming high-resolution videos, these carbon emissions could start rising at an even sharper pace. “Getting this impact under control requires a transition from digital intemperance to digital sobriety,” the report states. “This means prioritizing the allocation of resources as a function of uses, in order to conform to the planet’s physical boundaries, while preserving the most valuable societal contributions of digital technologies.”

The Shift Project recommends using this Firefox browser extension that visualizes the electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions that come from your internet browsing. You could also cut down on your porn viewing to help save the planet.

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