Is it time to get rid of the internet?

Cloud computing is a major emissions producer. Why is no one arguing for the dismantling of the Internet?

I’d venture to say that many, many people have a very love-hate relationship with the internet. It’s a source of connection, but also one of stress. It facilitates convenience, but at the same time seems to suck all manner of time and energy out of the day in an anxiety-inducing spiral. It has an appetite for massive amounts of energy, but it simultaneously has all the makings of a powerful, intangible force to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Let’s start with some of the internet’s climate-specific pros and cons. On the plus side, the creation of “remote work” has eliminated a lot of commute-related emissions, which make up a significant part of the average person’s carbon footprint. There’s also the overall convenience factor. A lot of tasks are so much easier online — bank deposits, grocery shopping, even paying the electric bill — saving any number of car trips in favor of more efficient delivery systems. And then there’s the fact that the World Wide Web’s wild and crazy information highway means that anyone with a Wi-fi signal can learn about climate change, from the latest U.N. environmental report to the daily atmospheric carbon level.

But, as you suggest, all that good might not be enough to offset the internet’s current climate drawbacks. A 2020 review of teleworking studies found the net energy benefit of remote work to be

— source | Eve Andrews | Jan 28, 2021

Nullius in verba


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