62 Trillion Spam E-Mails, Leave Huge Carbon Footprint

April 16, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A recent study commissioned by Mcafee to measure the carbon footprint of spam, produced some surprising results. The study, conducted by ICF International, claims the annual onslaught of 62 trillion junk emails produce a giant carbon footprint, consuming 33 billion kilowatt hours of energy, enough power to light up 2.4 million homes. The scourge of junk emails selling everything from Viagra to get-rich schemes, are not just an annoyance, but responsible for polluting the environment with greenhouse gases.

According to the study, a single junk email emits 0.3 grams of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide or CO2, which is equal to the same amount of CO2 released when driving a car a mere distance of three feet. When adding up all 62 trillion junk emails sent out last year, the resulting emissions amount to .2 percent of the total world-wide CO2 emissions!

The study found that most of the polluting energy came from the time spent deleting the junk emails and sorting them from legitimate mail.

So, what can be done to combat this environmental menace? The study says using an effective spam filter, could reduce the CO2 emissions associated with spam by as much as 75%. Directing all spam to a junk mail folder that can be quickly scanned and deleted in one mouse click, saves lots of carbon producing energy.

Some email accounts are better than others in filtering out junk email. Yahoo for example, not so good, but Gmail does a great job dealing with the spam onslaught.

Critics of the study, contend that Spam by itself, is not really responsible for increased energy use, because a user’s computer would most likely be left on regardless. If there were no spam to delete, users would spend their time surfing the web or playing video games, all activities that use carbon producing energy.

However, this study should make everyone aware of the drain our PCs and monitors make on our energy use, adding to our carbon footprint.

Energy conscious users should consider turning off their PCs and monitors when not in use, especially during the night while sleeping. You can also take steps to avoid spam by not using the auto-complete feature on your browser and not using an email ID with your own name.



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