A video released by the Australian website Hungry Beast yesterday featured a short animated infographic about how 'green' (or not!) the Internet is. According to the data in the video, every second of online video watched, releases 0.2g of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Now calculate that by the over 3 billion views that Youtube gets every day. At a conservative estimate of ten seconds per video, you have 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere every day. Which by any estimate is a massive global carbon footprint.
Internet usage is clearly another area that countries will soon have to look at in the fight against global warming. Especially since, as the video says, the number of internet users around the world is expected to quadruple by 2014. India, which is already being called upon to take stricter action to curb its greenhouse gas emissions had 100,000,000 Internet users in 2010, according to this report. The Energy Research Centre in Delhi, when contacted, stated that though the organisation had done a number of studies into the problems generated by e-waste in India, there had been as yet, nothing that looked at the impact of Internet usage.
It is true that energy wastage, and the carbon footprint generated by Internet users is low compared to the problems caused by e-waste in India. However, India's current internet penetration is only 8.5% of the total population, and is growing rapidly. Nitin Mathur, Senior Director at Yahoo! India, told TheNextWeb India that Internet usage is rapidly increasing in non-metro cities, adding that by 2015 there would be 240 million Internet users in India. This is higher than the population of most European countries. Clearly, it's not an issue that can be ignored for very long.
It might be soon time to look at greener ways of browsing the web. Using Blackle as a search engine might be a good way to start.