Streaming online pornography produces as much CO2 as Belgium

From The NewScientist

Technology 11 July 2019

The transmission and viewing of online videos generates 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, or nearly 1 per cent of global emissions. On-demand video services such as Netflix account for a third of this, with online pornographic videos generating another third.

This means the watching of pornographic videos generates as much CO2 per year as is emitted by countries such as Belgium, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

That’s the conclusion of a French think tank called The Shift Project. Earlier this year, it estimated that digital technologies produce 4 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and that this figure could soar to 8 per cent by 2025.

Now it has estimated the CO2 emissions due to online videos alone. The report’s authors used 2018 reports by companies Cisco and Sandvine to work out global video internet traffic. They then estimated how much electricity was used to carry this video data and view it on different devices, from phones to TVs.

Finally, they estimated the overall emissions using global average figures for carbon emissions from electricity generation.

Read the full article here.

89 thoughts on “Streaming online pornography produces as much CO2 as Belgium

  1. online pornography produces as much CO2 as Belgium

    Makes sense, as it can result in heavy breathing.

  2. So, of course, some green channeling Anthony Comstock will want to ban porno as bad for the environment, as well as growing hair on one’s palm. Nothing new here.

  3. Oh Come On (Geddit?)

    They overlooked rechargeables like vaccuum cleaners, electric bikes etc etc

    There’s every bit as much filth in a Dyson

      • The nice thing about Hoover’s, they have no teeth. And if you get the right one, it’ll have a flat top where you can set your beer down. 😃

      • I have a battery hand vacuum that I think actually came as a bonus(?) with a proper big plug in job with tons of power, I didn’t directly buy it. Effing useless. Lasts less than 10 minutes which could make it ideal for male users as that is probably as much as we can be bothered with. Better to use my proper hand job which is so powerful if fitted with a funnel can pick up a bowling ball. Hmm, lots of double entendres there given the topic.

  4. They do use a lot of rechargeable devices.

    Blame Al Gore, he claimed that he, “invented the internet”.

    • And his two films were ‘climate porn’, so there you go.
      But as long as there are masseusses to grab, Big Al won’t be needing any online stuff to satisfy his urges.

  5. In a Live Cycle Assessment, one needs to compare the Business As Usual case to the alternative. Let’s assume the BAU case is dating. One needs to wash, dress, put on perfume (or cologne as the case may be), use commercial beauty products (mostly made from petroleum sources), drive to the opposite sex and pick them up, go to a show, have dinner, dessert, make out, get hot and bothered, take the person to a hotel (or other quite secluded spot, or home), and enjoy the rest of the evening. Then calculate the GHG emissions for this activity.

    Next you need to compare the BAU case to the alternative, which is staying at home, watching a video, and imagining doing the BAU case. Then calculate the GHG emissions for that case and compare the two.
    Which one has the lower carbon intensity?

    Now from a more human standpoint, one needs to determine which activity is more enjoyable and will be conducted regardless of the carbon intensity involved.

    Each person need to make their own choices here and they can use the GHG emissions information to influence their choice or they can ignore it and just go one with life. Your choice.

  6. My favorite Al Gore observation is that, although population and GDP have gone up a lot since WW2, the weight of goods produced has not.

    Between 1977 and 2001, the amount of material required to meet all needs of Americans fell from 1.18 trillion pounds to 1.08 trillion pounds, even though the country’s population increased by 55 million people. Al Gore similarly noted in 1999 that since 1949, while the economy tripled, the weight of goods produced did not change. link

    The same does not seem to be true of energy consumption. link We can use technology to reduce the amount of physical material we consume but that seems to mean we will consume more energy as a result.

    Linking energy consumption to streaming pornography is just click bait. Similarly, we could observe that Bitcoin uses more energy than Switzerland. link

      • Ah yes the laws of thermodynamics:
        1. You can’t win
        2. You can’t get ahead
        3. You got’ta play

    • The service economy doesn’t weigh much… I’ll bet the weight of China’s manufactured goods has increased a little in that time period.

    • Someone needs to tell him about this thing called technology:
      – Incandescent lights bulbs –> LEDs
      – Cathode ray TV’s –> flat screen LCD/LED TVs.
      – 70’s cars/trucks 2ton behemoths –> 2010’s cars –> aluminum and plastic 787 carbon fiber jets

      As far as energy consumption goes, Vaclav Smil and others have long noted that historically with every substantial increase in conservation (energy efficiency) actually led to higher overall consumption because energy use becomes more affordable to more people.

  7. The globalists no damn well that on-line porn is devastating the birth rate in the West, and the reduction in population caused by it has more than compensated for the CO2 increase mentioned in this study. I suspect that if you read between the lines here, the is a big “fnord”.

  8. How does this compare to on-line gaming?

    “So just how big is gaming’s environmental footprint? Globally, PC gamers use about 75 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year, equivalent to the output of 25 electric power plants. (And that doesn’t include console games.) In the United States, gaming systems consume $6 billion worth of electricity annually. In California, where the analysis was centered, video gaming uses more power than electric water heaters, cooking appliances, clothes dryers, dishwashers, or freezers. As the report concludes, “video gaming is among the very most intensive uses of electricity in homes.” And more power means more greenhouse gas emissions: American gamers emit about 12 million tons of carbon dioxide annually—the equivalent of about 2.3 million passenger cars. Games are rated for things like sex and violence, Mills points out, but games and gear are “silent on their carbon footprint.”

  9. How many Manhattans is that? Also, how many Hiroshimas does said CO2 represent? We need accuracy.

  10. I will do my part by swearing off, forever, streaming internet porn.

    I challenge Jack Dale, Mosher, Griff, and all the other alarmists to do the same.

  11. This reminded me of a funny little video called ‘The Internet is for Porn’. I’d attach a link but, since the title includes the word porn (discretely) in it the content filtering where I am employed won’t even allow a search engine to bring it back as a search item.

    Search it. Watch it. Laugh your A$$ off. There is, BTW, nothing remotely pornographic about the video.



  12. But Gang Green will never ban Porn,as that would cancel their only daily human interaction(Or near facsimile there of).
    If you have observed how frantic the “Connected” become at the slightest loss of internet, their current means of “communicating”..
    You might come to be sure porn is safe,they will defend it to the end.
    Of their phone service anyway.

  13. It appears they are only including CO2 as a byproduct of generated electric power … they forgot the additional CO2 production as a byproduct of increased metabolism. So one could probably add The Netherlands to that analogy.

  14. It’s Friday.
    So, I’ll just say I couldn’t find the Seinfeld clip where Elaine says something like …”computers are worth it, if only for the porn”.

  15. Belgium didn’t waffle during the Battle of The Bulge – and neither should you – erect your edifice- and beat back those who wish to boink you – in the process you’ll fertilize the atmosphere – and with the help of Sun’s photosphere – make the planet greener still

    • ???
      Belgium simply existed during the Battle of the Bulge.
      Sadly, Belgium citizens in the way of the German attack suffered tremendously. They may have survived slightly better during the allied recovery of Belgium territory; but Belgium’s buildings and infrastructure suffered tremendously as Germans tried to make the Allies battle for every foot.

      Belgium Resistance fighters kept operating in secret as they had since Germany first invaded them. Overt actions resulted in German retaliation against civilians.

  16. Yeah, but pornhub doesn’t falsify it’s emission numbers to be larger nor does it use fudge factors to make it have 10x the actual effect in models.

  17. Ah, the estimates of estimates that estimates of estimates trash.

    “That’s the conclusion of a French think tank called The Shift Project. Earlier this year, it estimated that digital technologies produce 4 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions”

    I take this to mean 100% of digital technology electricity usage produces 4% of all GHG emissions.

    One suspects that emissions produced from developing, designing, manufacturing, assembling, transporting and installing technology do not count.

    “transmission and viewing of online videos generates 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, or nearly 1 per cent of global emissions.”

    I read this as transmission and viewing of online videos generates 25% of the GHGs produced by digital technologies.
    One site claims Belgium emitted 117.443 Kilotons of CO₂ equivalent in 2015.

    Another site claims that Belgium emitted 130 Megatons of GHG in 2014.

    That is, one estimate is 117 Megatons and another estimate is 130 Megatons.
    Estimates are guesses! Sadly, most GHG estimates are based upon estimates at every level of data; yet estimate promoters treat the numbers as gospel.

    “On-demand video services such as Netflix account for a third of this, with online pornographic videos generating another third.”

    Placed into context:
    A third of the 1% that represents one fourth of the 4% GHG emissions attributed to digital emissions, is attributed to each:
    1) On-demand video services.
    2) online pornographic videos.

    A third of GHG emissions; i.e. 33% of 300 Megatons GHG emissions = 99 Megatons.
    An average of the estimates for Belgium, (climate alarmists love averages), is 123.5 Megatons. Leaving that 99 megatons attributed to porn videos as 20% less than Belgium’s alleged GHG emissions.

    Let’s take a common sense approach.
    That 1% of global GHGs attributed to transmitting and viewing online videos, which is 25% of GHG emissions attributed to digital technologies. One third of that 25% is attributed to porn.

    1) suggests that one in every four digital devices is receiving/transmitting an online video.
    2) One third of those digital devices is receiving/transmitting a porn video.

    Walk along any street, visit any home, stop in any business, government office, etc. anywhere.
    Four out of every twelve digital devices will be showing pornographic videos…

    Once one digs into virtually any climate related series of estimates, reality does not reflect the alarmist wishful thinking.

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