Is the digital economy a systemic driver of carbon emissions? We're so easily tricked by seemingly free services.

Indiana University professor Nathan Ensmenger, environmental historian of the computer, makes the point that free internet videos hide not only their costs but their carbon footprint.

the problem with the digital economy, where so many of the costs are outsourced or hidden that consumers believe everything is free. Most sites offer their free videos by selling advertising to companies that track consumer behavior, and these cookies require a considerable amount of energy. More importantly, consumers don’t have to think about the significant environmental costs of constructing and destructing electrical products, such as screens, servers, and hard drives.

Even if consumers don’t pay the electric bill, somebody must. “With digital things, it’s just so easy to externalize the costs to other places, other actors, that we make assumptions about them being less environmentally impactful that are just not justified,” Ensmenger says. [emphasis mine]

‘Tsunami of data’ could consume one fifth of global electricity by ...

The communications industry could use 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025,...
Global computing power demand from internet-connected devices, high resolution video streaming, emails, surveillance cameras and a new generation of smart TVs is increasing 20% a year,...

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[Reminder: Brother Richard doesn't sell you, the way Google and everybody else does. Atheist Nexus depends upon donations.]

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