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2.16.20
Midnight Oil

In the Face of Climate Change, the Internet Is Unsustainable

December 18th 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Earth & Energy
Alfred T. Palmer/Victor Tangermann

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As far as environmental damage is concerned, our increasingly-online lives incur a massive toll.

If everything continues on its current course, then the internet is expected to generate about 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions by 2030, according to The New Republic. That would make its environmental impact worse than any individual country on Earth, except for the U.S., China, or India.

In other words, our internet use is linked to a vicious cycle of environmental devastation, making it increasingly clear that something has to give.

Slim Down

Aside from transitioning to a web powered by renewable energy, experts and activists pointed out to New Republic some major ways to cut back on the internet’s carbon emissions.

Among them: removing online ads and behind-the-scenes tracking tools, and stem the rise of energy-intensive video streaming services.

New Model

The main challenge, of course, is that filling webpages with ads and extracting personal data from users are the two main business models that sustain the internet.

In other words, getting rid of adverts and surveillance would simultaneously improve the internet and make greener, but would also make it much harder to fund.

“We have to rethink how we get our information and how we access it,” Tim Frick, CEO of an eco-friendly digital agency called Mightybytes told New Republic.

READ MORE: Can the Internet Survive Climate Change? [The New Republic]
More on the internet: Prepare Yourself for the “Tsunami of Data” Expected to Hit by 2025