Binge-Watching Contributes to Global Carbon Emissions
|Thursday, July 18, 2019 | Author: ProCon.org | MORE HEADLINES|
The Shift Project, a nonprofit think tank that advocates for reduced dependency on carbon-based energy, wrote in a July 2019 report that the production and use of digital technologies account for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Online videos contribute 1% of of global emissions, generating over 300 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year - that's about what the entire country of Spain produces in emissions annually. Greenhouse gases can contribute to climate change.
A study by University of Bristol researchers found that YouTube alone emitted 11 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2016, more than the city of Amsterdam. Researchers suggested that YouTube could lower this carbon footprint by up to 551,000 tons by allowing users to have an inactive screen when streaming music or other media that doesn't require video. More emissions could be eliminated by stopping the auto-play feature.
Another approach might be for the digital companies themselves to transition to renewable or alternative energies, or to offset fossil fuel energy use. For example, Netflix stated that "In 2018, 100% of our estimated direct and indirect non-renewable power use was matched through the following renewable energy and carbon offset projects." However, a 2017 Greenpeace report found that companies such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu relied primarily on natural gas and coal energy.
|Discussion Questions - Things to Think About|
|1. Do you binge-watch videos? What are some of the pros and cons of binge-watching?
2. Should the environment be considered when consuming digital media? Explain your answer.
3. Should companies that produce digital media use alternative energies? Why or why not?