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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] [Thematic report]: Calculating the environmental cost of e-mails

by Oksana Zavaliy | 20-05-2020 00:36 Comments 8 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations



In the situation we are all currently facing we are recommended to work from home if it is possible. In order to do that we use electronic mail and different platforms for video conferences. Personally, I have only 3 video calls a week but the amount of e-mails I send and receive is much higher so I decided to count the environmental cost of e-mails.

Powering wireless networks, saving data in cloud storage, powering your PC or smartphone - all these things are necessary to send an e-nail and all these things need electricity. As we know, most electricity in the world is produced by fossil fuels which emit CO2 while burning. This being said the CO2 emissions caused by e-mails may vary in different countries depending on the type of energy they use. Thus, a single e-mail can be responsible for up to 50g of CO2 emitions. According to Mike Berners-Lee, a spam e-mail emits 0.3g, a regular e-mail is responsible for 4g of CO2, and e-mails with pictures or attachments are accountable for 50g of CO2

Today alone I have received 12 e-mails. Only one of them was important because it was sent by my boss. Another one notified me about the upcoming event I had signed up for. The rest 10 e-mails came from the sources I subscribed to but do not need anymore. Most of those e-mails had pictures or videos in them, only 3 of them consisted of text only. None of those were spam e-mails. Thus, 3 regular e-mails + 9 e-mails with pictures produce 462g of CO2 in total. If we multiply it by 365 we will get 169kg of CO2 per year.

As I said, only two of all those e-mails were important and they were responsible for only 8g of total emitions. It means that I could have had produced 58 times less carbon dioxide if I had cleaned my mailing list and unsubscribed of everything I do not need. This number may not seem like a lot but multiplied by the number of people who use electronic mail today it can seem catastrophic and totally unnecessary.

There are several ways we can lower this number:
1) Unsibcribe of everything you do not need.
2) Include all the information you need in one e-mail.
3) Try to compress images if you have to send one.
4) Add links to files instead of sending attachments.

I encourage everyone to clear their e-mail regularly starting today. Let this report be a sign that it is time to unsubscribe of those e-mails that Facebook or any other annoying site keeps sending you :)

Sources:

8 Comments

Sang Su Mentor

  • Sang Su Mentor says :
    Hi Oksana Zavaliy, this is a mentor Sang Su Lee.

    Due to COVID-19 incident, people have increased time spending in the online. However, I did not know that this would create serious carbon emission. Actually many people would not have expected this consequence. Air becomes cleaner, so we might think that green house gas emission problem would be relieved due to COVID-19. However, one statistics shows that carbon emission is the highest. Email is one of the online activities too.

    Thank you for your statistics showing how serious this problem is.

    Green Cheers!
    Posted 25-05-2020 19:38

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Oksana,

    I do hope that you are fine and doing great with your works.
    Thank you for your report about Calculating the environmental cost of e-mails

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Regards,
    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 24-05-2020 22:18

Taehyun Mentor

  • Taehyun Mentor says :
    Hello Oksana Zavaliy, this is mentor Taehyun!

    Thank you for your article on the possibility of carbon emissions in the digital world. In fact, we often try to reduce the number of carbon dioxide emissions that we see in the real world, such as cars and thermal power plants, but I think it's amazing that carbon can be generated even in areas that we haven't considered at all. While I'm commenting on your article, the server will still burn, right? A creative solution to this problem seems urgent.

    Thank you for the report!

    Green cheers!
    Posted 24-05-2020 02:14

Samiksha Adhikari

  • Samiksha Adhikari says :
    Greetings Oksana!!
    I hope everything is going well .

    Thanks for sharing the amazing content.
    Keep sharing and writing!!

    GREEN CHEERS!!
    Regards,
    Samiksha Adhikari

    Posted 22-05-2020 19:13

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Greetings oksana
    I hope you are doing well
    Woe, like the topic ...report is also amazing.
    Thank you so much for this report
    Keep writing
    Green cheers
    Regards
    Asmita Gaire
    Posted 22-05-2020 14:44

Sonika Pariyar

  • Sonika Pariyar says :
    Hello Kushal dai!

    I hope you are fine and doing great!

    Thanks for sharing!

    GREEN CHEERS!

    Regards,
    Sonika
    Posted 20-05-2020 21:52

Manisha Pokhrel

Bal krishna Pandey

  • Bal krishna Pandey says :
    Hello Oksana,
    I hope you are safe. This is a unique topic for me. thanks for providing informations to us about Calculating the environmental cost of e-mails. I got surprised to hear that a single e-mail can be responsible for up to 50g of CO2 emitions.
    I will follow the ways to reduce unwanted emails.
    thanks for this report
    cheers
    Posted 20-05-2020 17:29

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