Experts say the ease of streaming services comes with a hefty environmental price tag.
Watching a half-hour show would lead to emissions of 1.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide. That’s equivalent to driving 3.9 miles (6.28 kilometres).
Last year, online video streaming produced emissions equivalent to Spain and that amount may double in the next six years, according to the Shift Project.
While most of the online traffic — 34 percent — is related to streaming videos, on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, for example, the next biggest sector is online porn.
“Digital videos come in very large file sizes and (are) getting bigger with each new generation of higher definition video, more data equals more energy needed to maintain a system that is ready to stream this video to your device at a moment’s notice,” according to Greenpeace’s IT sector energy footprint wing.
Much of the energy needed for streaming services is consumed by the data centre, which delivers data to your computer or device. The centers contribute about 0.3 percent of all carbon emissions.
Web-based video traffic is expected to increase four times from 2017 to 2022 and account for 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2022, according to the CISCO Network.
Screens with 4K resolution use about 30 percent more energy than high-definition screens, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Last year, 8K screens made their debut.
The consequence is “a waste of resources at all levels.”
We should not feel guilty in watching an online movie, thinking about the carbon footprint, but instead should ask our service providers to transition their data centers to renewable energy thus offsetting these footprint.
Reference- The Shift Project, The Guardian, livemint, Nature, Greenpeace website