Understanding digital carbon footprints

Producing and transmitting one data unit requires only a minimal amount of energy.

But if you multiply that by 4.5 billion, and then several billion times over, the amount of energy consumed and emissions released is unfathomable.

Digital carbon footprints reflect the amount of CO2 emissions generated by using and transferring data through digital mediums and infrastructures.

The main reason for these emissions is the enormous amounts of electricity required to run the internet and power digital devices.

Electricity is also needed to cool down servers that store and pass on humongous quantities of data every day.

This electricity, primarily from fossil fuels such as coal, adds to the emissions generated from other sources.

Consider emails. Even this seemingly innocent act of greeting, inviting, requesting, and complaining online has repercussions on the environment.

It adds to your digital carbon footprint.

According to some estimates, the sending and receiving of emails worldwide produce CO2 emissions equivalent to having 7 million additional cars on the road!

Such statistics highlight that simple steps at the individual level can help bring down carbon emissions from digital sources.