Spending an hour watching your favourite series on a streaming service is not as bad on the environment as previously thought, according to a new study.
The industry-backed study from Carbon Trust found that an hour of streaming service use only consumes as much energy as an electric kettle used for 6 minutes straight.
The study refuted a lot of previously thought estimates regarding carbon emissions from streaming services. It was previously believed that large data centres and server facilities would bring a large carbon emission cost for each hour of streaming.
"There was a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about the carbon impact of video streaming," said Andie Stephens, lead author of the white paper and Associate Director at the Carbon Trust. "We, therefore, wanted to put this into perspective, and help to increase the knowledge and understanding of the impact of video streaming."
Companies the world over are racing against the clock to meet emission standards set by governments across the world. Failure means that the global average temperature will rise by more than 1.5 °C, resulting in widespread destruction, economic loss and changes to the ecology of Earth as it stands today. With a greater understanding of what activities lead to higher carbon emissions, companies and governments can work together towards reducing emissions.
Netflix has planned to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022. Netflix will ‘offset’ all the emissions that it can’t eliminate by the deadline. Nearly half of Netflix’s emissions come directly due to the physical production of new content, and 45 percent of the emissions result from corporate operations.
The paper identified that an hour of streaming produced 55 grams of carbon dioxide emissions. However, this estimate was based upon the average European energy grid carbon emissions. For countries with higher energy grid carbon emissions, like India, China, and the USA, the carbon emissions from streaming would be higher.
The biggest contributor to emissions in streaming is not the data servers, but the actual viewing device, the study found. The study still highlights the variability and uncertainty when estimating carbon emissions, a major part of which would be emissions generated by each country in supplying electricity to its power grid.
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST