This story was originally published by Wired and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
You recycle. You ride your bike to work. You bring your own bags to the grocery. You might think you’re a good environmentalist. But those cat videos, TED talks, and Netflix original series you watch to unwind might be slowly killing the planet.
That’s the word from Greenpeace’s latest Clicking Clean report, which evaluates the clean energy initiatives of many different internet companies.
While we’re used to thinking about our environmental impact in terms of how much trash we throw out, how much we drive, and how much electricity we use in our homes, the report highlights the ways that our internet usage has environmental effects that we never see.
Data center emissions account for small percentage of global emissions, Greenpeace information technology analyst Gary Cook tells us. That’s not much compared to 14 percent that goes towards agriculture or the 13 percent that goes to transportation. But data center emissions are growing by at least 13 percent per year, Cook says. And within two years, information technology in general, including ... Read more