Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to the BBC, you should only send emails if you think the other person really cares, though some commenters point out cutting back on streaming services and online gaming might have a bigger impact.
Climate change: Can sending fewer emails really save the planet?
By David Molloy
Are you the type of person who always says thank you? Well, if it’s by email, you should stop, according to UK officials looking at ways to save the environment.
The Financial Times reports that we may all soon be encouraged to send one fewer email a day, cutting out “useless” one-line messages – such as “thanks”.
Doing so “would save a lot of carbon”, one official involved in next year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow said.
But would it really make a huge difference?
Mike Berners-Lee, a respected professor on the topic whose research was used in the Ovo Energy work, on “back-of-the-envelope” maths from 2010 – and while useful to start conversations, there were bigger questions.
“The reality is that a lot of the system will still have impact, whether or not the email is sent,” Prof Preist explains.
Rather than worrying about relatively low-impact emails, some researchers suggest we should turn our attention to services such as game and video-streaming and cloud storage which have a much larger effect.
Frankly I’m shocked that anyone who professes concern about climate change would go anywhere near something packed with as much carbon sin as a computer or mobile device.
When you touch a computer or mobile you are literally placing your hands on something which is only a few small chemical steps away from the crude oil from which much of it was made. Heat a modern mobile device or computer in a fire and it will rapidly blacken and reveal its true nature, by melting into a discoloured tar. The alumina components were produced using insane amounts of electricity and heat. The copper was refined using toxic chemical smelting processes. And that super tough glass screen was produced by melting acid washed sand mixed with exotic chemicals in a high temperature furnace.
Climate warriors who want to be taken seriously should self isolate, grow their own vegetables, and avoid all forms of electronic communication, streaming services and electronic gaming, if they want to convince the rest of us of their sincerity.