What is the carbon footprint of your email?
Do we need to feel guilty about sending off our email, and the carbon footprint this creates? Says Mike Berners-Lee in his thoughtful book How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything that a typical year of incoming mail adds up to 135 kg CO2e: over 1 per cent of the 10-tonne lifestyle and equivalent to driving 200 miles in an average car!
0.3 g. CO2e a spam email
4 g. CO2e a proper email
50 g. CO2e an email with long and irksome attachment that you have to read
Although 78 per cent of incoming emails sent are spam, these messages account for just 22 per cent of the total footprint of your email account because you deal with these pests quickly or ignore them.
A genuine email has a bigger carbon footprint as it takes long to create. If you send off endless copies to colleagues to make sure they were aware of something, and to save your own back, you are increasing your footprint! Stop this and people will begin to like you more, says the writer!
Spam and unnecessary email must be high on the list for cutting carbon along with junk mail in the post.
He suggests that if email was taxed: just a penny per message would surely kill all spam instantly! The funds could go towards tackling world poverty he feels!
The world’s carbon footprint would go down by 20 million tonnes even if genuine readers did not change their habits at all! The average user would be saved a couple of minutes of their time every day and there would be a 170 billion pound annual fund made available says the writer!