By Deirdre Tynan •
Published: 14 Jun 2021 • 8:37
Netflix is not as bad for the environment as previously thought.
What’s the true impact of streaming Netflix on the climate? Measuring those emissions took a lot of guesswork, resulting in studies with inaccurate estimates and myths – until now, says Emma Stewart, Netflix’s Sustainability Officer.
“Some studies have tried to answer this question, but it is hard to get right. Delivering an episode of your favourite streaming series to screens requires different technologies that are constantly evolving – from the data centres where the data is housed, to the infrastructure that brings the internet to your home, to the electricity powering how you enjoy the show,” she said.
Researchers at the University of Bristol spent a decade developing a tool to calculate the carbon footprint of streaming and other everyday internet uses, such as browsing news stories, to answer this question. The calculator uses the latest scientific protocols to measure emissions and data directly from the entertainment and media companies who rely on streaming delivery themselves, compared to the generic estimations of past studies.
This research is the subject of a new independent white paper, released by sustainability researchers at The Carbon Trust. There are four key findings:
“The tool’s validation by Carbon Trust’s research brings us one step closer to accurately and consistently assessing the climate impact of streaming — be it from data centres, internet providers, or device manufacturers, and entertainment and media companies who rely on streaming. Better understanding this footprint means we can better focus on reducing those emissions across industries, countries and the world,” Emma Stewart added.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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