Saturday, December 5, 2020

We should not stream videos in HD to save the planet, say Scientists

According to research conducted by scientists from the prestigious Royal Society in the UK, HD video streaming on smartphones produces about eight times more carbon emissions than standard definition (SD). If we will watch Netflix in standard definition, it can help to reduce carbon emissions and prevent climate change.

Scientists at the Royal Society of the UK have suggested on a small screen phone that you won't even notice the difference between 480p and 720p streaming.

The authors of the report also point themselves to the online platforms and regulators with a finger to limit streaming resolution and set the default to SD to reduce per capita carbon emissions and combat climate change.

The report states, "Decisions should be taken to limit streaming resolution by platforms and regulators, rather than consumers."

Digital technology is estimated to account for 5% of total global emissions - energy sources likely come from unexpected sources.

The report adds that the digital sector's estimated contribution to global emissions ranges from 1.4% to 5.9% of the global total.

An Instagram post of Football star Cristiano Ronaldo consumes the power of ten UK homes in a year.

The total energy required to maintain bitcoin is equal to the overall energy consumption of Switzerland.

In the interconnected world of the modern-day web, small individual tasks can have widespread consequences.

This is why the report's authors are suggesting small actions on behalf of users, such as turning off the video while streaming music from YouTube, if they’re just listening and not watching.

Such small moves can save as much as 5% of streaming emissions- which are equivalent to changing all of YouTube's servers on renewable energy.

The report further recommends ways that consumers, government and industry can reduce their impact on the sustainability of the planet.

Other smaller suggestion includes buying second-hand devices instead of new.

Keeping the phone for a while longer before upgrading can create significant obligations to the emissions by building new devices.

Manufacturing phones, laptops, tablets, and smart TVs is a carbon-intensive process. However, people often change their smartphones every other year. But Changing your phone after four years instead of two years means that carbon emissions used in manufacturing account for about half of the emissions generated over a lifetime.

Lead author Andy Hopper from the University of Cambridge stated that there are many routes to net-zero [carbon emissions], but digital technology has a central role to play.

We should be alert to the digital demand that is reducing carbon emissions under this transition promise. 

While savings will be significant in the global fight against climate change, overall reductions will account for a small portion of total emissions.

Professor Corinne Le Querre, Co-author of the report, told BBC News, to be honest, digital technology is a small fraction of what your emissions are, which flies once a year - but every bit of savings of CO2 is significant.

What's more, we are trying to signal people to use the power of digital to deal with climate change.

The same way we heat our homes, for example, is nonsense. We occupy part of the house but heat the whole thing. We can fix this using digital technology.

We must ensure that the digital revolution supports the climate revolution - and we currently fail to do so.

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