Sex & Relationships

Your Daily Porn Site Visits are Making Climate Change Worse

Control yourself.
IMAGE PIXABAY
ILLUSTRATOR Roland Mae Tanglao
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Time to exit your incognito windows, folks. It looks like your porn watching habits are putting the planet at risk, according to climate scientists.

In the report Climate crisis: The unsustainable use of online video – A practical case study for digital sobriety by The Shift Project, a carbon transition think tank based in Paris, it’s reported that online porn videos emitted a whopping 82 million tons of CO2 (MtCO2) in 2018. That’s about the same amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as Qatar, which houses the world’s third-largest natural gas and oil reserves.

On a serious note, while online activities might not be as tangible as coal or oil, even just scrolling down your newsfeed can contribute to GHGs. Digital technologies now contribute four percent of GHGs, and energy consumption of digital technologies is expected to increase by nine percent per year.

Videos make up a bulk of that percentage. Videos are a dense medium for information, which is why all 10 episodes of Narcos: Mexico in high definition make up more data than all the English articles on Wikipedia combined.

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The amount of energy required for data usage, from charging your phone to connecting to Wi-Fi, explains why digital technology’s carbon footprint is made up of 55 percent energy consumption and 45 percent for equipment production, with data usage traffic expected to grow 25 percent per year.

Making up 60 percent of world data flows, online videos emitted a staggering 306 MtCO2 in 2018, which is about the same amount of GHGs produced by Spain.

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The four most watched types of videos that make up that bulk are:

  1. Videos on Demand (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.)
    Contributes 34 percent. Emits 102 MtCO2, as much as Chile.
  1. Pornography (Pornhub, YouPorn, XVideo, etc.)
    Contributes 27 percent. Emits 82 MtCO2, as much as Qatar.
  1. Tube (YouTube, Daily Motion, Youku Tudou, etc.)
    Contributes 21 percent. Emits 65 MtCO2, as much as Syria.
  1. Social Networks, others (Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.)
    Contributes 18 percent. Emits 56 MtCO2, as much as Hungary.

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What should you do?

The authors of the study recommend “digital sobriety,” which is code for watching only what you need to watch. And so we are faced with Sophie’s Choice: Netflix or porn?

Before you say you’d rather let climate change destroy the world than give up either, there is another way to reduce your digital carbon footprint. You can reduce the quality of your videos, which will reduce the data required and thus environmental impact. Lowres adult entertainment doesn’t sound particularly appealing, but it’s better than nothing. 

You can also download The Shift Project’s Carbonalyser browser extension, which tells you how much CO2 your online activities are emitting.

The bottom-line of The Shift Project’s study is: Everything in moderation. In other words, control yourself. 

We know it’s hard, and we’re asking for a lot, but the next time you click on your favorite category on PornHub, remember the 82 million tons of carbon emissions.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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