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Is Internet Addiction Bad For The Environment?

by Ace Damon
Is Internet Addiction Bad For The Environment?

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Watching videos over the internet at home is practically the same as having two or three incandescent bulbs on, according to a study by scientists.

Do you know what the cost of watching shows brings to the environment?

Watching your favorite show or listening to your playlist has never been easier.

A virtually infinite gamut of movies, music, and TV shows can be transmitted and downloaded almost instantly.

But at what cost to the environment?

Vast amounts of energy are needed to keep data flowing on the Internet and demand only increases as our dependence on digital services grows.

Part of this energy is generated from clean sources, but another part of it is derived from the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels, which most scientists claim is a contributing factor to increasing global temperatures.

The latest report by climate scientists shows the scale of the dangers faced by carbon emissions.

Is Internet Addiction Bad For The Environment

“As we leverage our digital infrastructure, it’s quickly becoming crucial to know if we can contain climate change in time,” said Gary Cook, Greenpeace’s IT industry analyst.

Vast amounts of energy are needed to keep data flowing on the Internet and demand only increases as our dependence on digital services grows.

After all, can reducing time spent on the internet really make a difference in energy consumption and global warming?

It is estimated that the Information Technology (IT) sector – from feeding Internet servers to smartphone loads – has the same ecological footprint as the aviation industry’s fuel emissions. It should consume up to 20% of the world’s electricity by 2030, according to Anders Andrae of Huawei Technologies.

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Streaming video and streaming accounts use the largest slice of internet traffic in the world.

Watching videos over the internet at home is about the same as having two or three incandescent bulbs on, according to professors Chris Preist and Dan Schien of the University of Bristol’s computer science department.

In addition to the force used by these devices, the energy is consumed by the networks that distribute the content.

More demand for technology also means that more power will be needed to store and share large amounts of information.

That’s where datacenters come in – usually installed in huge buildings that house servers that store, process, and distribute Internet traffic. The servers themselves require a lot of cooling.

Most of the world’s internet traffic passes through these data centers, hosting streaming platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Netflix. For example, the former has more than 2 billion users, and the last, about 140 million subscribers.

It is estimated that these datacenters currently consume at least 1% of the world’s electricity, a number that is expected to increase in the future.

They also account for about 0.3% of global CO2 emissions.

Andrae, of Huawei, says data centers being built around the world must be powered by renewable energy to minimize these emissions.

The Eureca project, funded by the European Commission, found that data centers in EU countries consumed 25% more energy in 2017 compared to 2014.

Chief scientist Rabih Bashroush estimated that 5 billion downloads and transmissions synchronized by Despacito’s music, launched in 2017, consumed as much electricity as Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic together in a single year.

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But what can you do?

Every time you sit down to watch or listen to something online, the amount of energy consumed can change. It depends on a number of factors, including the efficiency of the device.

Terrestrial TV broadcasting is much more efficient than the current streaming technologies for TV channels, which are attended by a large number of people, say Preist and Schien professors.

Mobile phones tend to be the most energy efficient – more than a TV or a notebook.

But it also depends on how you use streaming. A cell phone connected to Wi-Fi consumes less power than one connected to 3G or 4G. Even if you’re not using your device, by having the wi-fi at home, you’re still consuming power, Preist says.

“So at home, a lot of power consumption comes from all of us, keeping our equipment connected 24 hours a day.” Some data centers may be more efficient than others.

Keeping them in colder, underground locations, for example, can reduce the large amounts of energy needed for cooling.

Is Internet Addiction Bad For The Environment

The latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggested that despite the increased data center workload, which will triple by 2020, the amount of electricity used will only increase by 3%.

This boils down to continuous improvements in server efficiency and data center infrastructure, and a move to larger but more efficient hubs. Technology has been praised for being more open about how efficient they are.

Facebook expects its new data center in Singapore to be powered by 100% renewable energy, something that Apple says is already happening with all its global facilities. Many other companies have pledged to achieve this goal.

Businesses also offset the amount of non-renewable energy they consume by supporting renewable energy projects.

Scrutinizing lesser-known and smaller companies and their energy consumption should be a priority, Bashroush says. “You need to pay more attention to the smaller data center facilities that are off the radar, and that’s where the next big opportunity to save energy is where the big players are not so bad by comparison,” he says.

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