Are Canadians pruede because of American influence

Tech & Nature

The past year has seen the number of video calls skyrocket globally. The dress code is mostly of secondary importance with these. While the 50/50 solution, business meets casual at waist height, has already proven to be very effective for many in the home office, a current study by various American universities makes you reconsider this too. In their work, the scientists come to the conclusion that the ecological footprint of video conferences can be reduced by 96 percent by not having the camera switched on. According to the researchers' estimates, following the content when streaming video in standard definition instead of high definition resolution can reduce the ecological footprint by 86 percent.

Both impacts on CO2, water and land consumption are assessed

In their study, scientists from the universities of Yale, Purdue and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed the carbon footprint as well as the water and land footprint created by the Internet infrastructure. According to a press release from Purdue University, they are the first scientists to include all of these components. "If you focus on just one type of footprint, you are missing out on others that can offer a more holistic view of the environmental impact," said Roshanak Nateghi, professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University.

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Internet causes 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions

Internet data is transmitted worldwide and stored in storage centers. As a result, every virtual activity also causes emissions. According to the researchers, a one-hour video conference or video streaming in the same amount of time causes 150-1,000 grams of carbon dioxide, 2-12 liters of water and an iPad Mini to take up a lot of land. Even before the corona pandemic, 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions were caused by the Internet, according to a study by the French think tank "The Shift Project" at the end of 2019. Since March 2020, some countries have reported at least 20% more internet usage than before the pandemic. If this trend continues until the end of 2021, the increased internet use would require 185,443 square kilometers of forest to offset emissions, according to the researchers. The additional amount of water required for processing and transferring the data compared to the amount of water required by 300,000 Olympic swimming pools and the additional land area required would be about the same size as Los Angeles.

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Video platforms pollute the environment more

The team also examined the different ecological influences of a total of 18 social media channels and streaming portals such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. For every gigabyte of data, they estimated the impact on carbon dioxide, water and land footprints. Here, too, they came to the conclusion that the ecological footprint of the respective media is greater if more videos are used and stored in the channels. In addition to the individual platforms, the researchers also continued to examine the ecological footprint of the Internet in a total of 13 countries. There, too, the results varied greatly. While internet usage in the US has a 9 percent higher CO2 footprint than the global mean, the water and land footprint is well below the global mean. The results for Germany in the study were exactly the opposite.



Results should clarify relationships

The results of the study are based on publicly available data for each platform and for each country. From these, the researchers created models that are based on known values ​​of energy consumption per gigabyte of landline internet use. “These are the best estimates given the data available. Given these reported increases, there is now hope for more transparency to guide policy, ”said Nateghi. With their results, the scientists hope to be able to create a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between Internet use and ecological consequences.