Daily Planet Going Green What's Up World?

Is watching Netflix adding to your carbon footprint?3 min read

April 2, 2021 2 min read


Is watching Netflix adding to your carbon footprint?3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you have read our Owliver’s Special on carbon footprint, then you will know that the answer to that question is an obvious yes! Where there are appliances, there is electricity. Where there is electricity, there is energy. And utilisation of non-renewable energy releases carbon. It is a simple story.

But there is a story within the story.

The show that reaches you on your screen goes through multiple stages of production before it appears before you. All these stages add to the carbon footprint.

So, netflix has its own relationship with carbon. And a new tool has revealed it.

Netflix’s Carbon Footprint:

What do you think is worse for the environment? Driving to school or watching an hour of your favourite show on Netflix? Fret not as a new research has quantified this issue. A new tool, DIMPACT, has allowed Netflix to claim that that one hour of streaming on its platform in 2020 used less than a hundred grams of carbon dioxide. That is less than what is generated on a drive of 400 meters.

The number seems small. But Netflix has 203.66 million subscribers all over the world. Think about all the “one-hours” dispersed throughout the planet!

Based on DIMPACT’s data, Netflix has announced that one hour of streaming is equivalent to a typical 75 watts ceiling fan running for four hours in North America or six hours in Europe, or a typical 1,000 watts window air conditioner running for 15 minutes in North America or 40 minutes in Europe.

How did we get this number?

Before the tool, there was no way to determine the carbon footprint of video-streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC etc. But DIMPACT works as an elaborate calculator to determine the carbon footprint of such companies. It has four modules, each representing a specific sector— video streaming, advertising, publishing and business intelligence. The module on video streaming, the one used by Netflix and its likes, considers all the processes required to bring a show on the screen before arriving at a number. As such, it studies the energy consumption of suppliers and consumers.

The pollution caused by suppliers and customers is called a company’s Scope 3 emissions. For DIMPACT, the Scope 3 will include the production of films, the delivery of content to the consumer, and the consumption of the content.

The road ahead for Netflix…

Owliver’s Obscure Observations:
Microsoft and Apple have promised to be carbon negative by 2030.

To reduce carbon footprint, Netflix can localise data centres so that shows being streamed in India also have data centres in the same country. Also, the screen can go to sleep mode sooner if no action is being observed on the screening device.

And there are greener alternatives to binge-watching a show! A walk in the park, a cup of coffee with a friend, a new hobby like painting, or gardening are some ways to off-set the reliance on gadgets for entertainment.

Netflix will announce its plan towards carbon negativity by the end of May this year.

Sourced from Wired

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *