A report from the UK’s Royal Society revealed that streaming in standard definition can help reduce carbon emissions, hence help fighting climate change.
Watching a video in HD on a phone produces about 8 times more emissions than SD. It also found out that digital technology’s estimated contribution to global emissions goes from 1.4% to 5.9% of the global total.
The report then urges platforms and regulators to limit streaming resolution and default to SD. Similarly, to save energy, it suggests for people to turn off any video while listening to music. This could help save up to 5% of the emissions from a streaming service.
Moreover, the report showed that using devices for longer before changing them can also help reduce emissions. Indeed, if you change your phone every two years, the manufacturing account for half of all the emissions it will produce in its lifetime. The longer you keep your phone, fewer emissions are generated. Another way could be to buy a device second-hand.
The report stated that moving computing from home or business desktop and on to the cloud could be a way to reduce energy as well, as the cloud allows more effective patterns of server use. For this, IT businesses should provide transparent information about their digital products’ energy consumption.
There is a way to fight climate change, but everyone must be willing to put a little effort. Digital tech only represents a small fraction of emissions but it’s a step towards a more aware and responsible future. We need to use digital transformation in a way that could be beneficial for the environment.