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A Guide to Global Internet Energy Usage

A Guide to Global Internet Energy Usage

Why are the data centres that run the internet often sited close to cheap sources of power such as hydroelectric power stations? Because their energy consumption is so enormous.

Why are they increasingly located inside the arctic circle or even under the sea? Because much of the energy cost is due to the need to cool the thousands of hot web servers. have published a guide to global internet energy usage which brings this energy consumption into focus with an array of sobering statistics which should make individuals and businesses alike think about their internet use and its effects on CO2 emissions.

This comprehensive, data-driven piece features the latest facts and figures around our online consumption and the Internet’s ever-growing carbon footprint.

The guide aims to raise awareness so people can make more energy-conscious consumer choices.

It covers:

  • The rapid growth of internet users worldwide and the countries with the highest number of people online as of 2020 (China and India dominate the top two spots)
  • The immense amount of energy needed to power social media sites, online streaming, cryptocurrency, and cloud computing services.
  • A detailed look at the carbon footprint that our online habits and consumption produce.

Below are some statistics about the effects our persistent use of the internet is having on the environment.

  • One email releases 4 grams of CO2 into the atmosphere. An email with a large attachment could have a footprint of up to 50 grams.
  • A year of incoming mail for a typical business creates around 135kg of CO2.
  • Of the 3.7% global emissions coming from the internet, 3.5% is from the information communications and technology industry
  • Data centres across the world are consuming around 1% of global electricity
  • Netflix accounted for 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide globally in 2018
  • An online Google search emits 0.2 grams of CO2

To learn more about the Global Internet Energy Usage guide, you can view the full guide here: