What is the carbon footprint of a a single spam message?
July 30, 2010 12:06 PM Subscribe
A friend of mine sent me a infograph about how much CO2 is produced from a single spam email. In the infograph it said, "The average GHG emission associated with a single spam message is 0.3 grams of CO2" I'm not sure the the claim is a valid one and would like to see some similar studies or links about the topic.
posted by wherespaul to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Below is what the infograph was based on:
"The “Carbon Footprint of Spam” study looked at global energy expended to create, store, view and filter spam across 11 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Mexico, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom. It correlated the electricity spent on spam with its carbon footprint, since fossil fuels are by far the largest source of electricity in the world today. Since emissions cannot be isolated to one country, it averaged its findings to arrive at the global impact. Key findings of the “Carbon Footprint of Spam” study included:
The average GHG emission associated with a single spam message is 0.3 grams of CO2. That's like driving three feet (one meter); but when multiplied by the yearly volume of spam, it is equivalent to driving around the earth 1.6 million times.
Much of the energy consumption associated with spam (nearly 80 percent) comes from end-users deleting spam and searching for legitimate e-mail (false positives). Spam filtering accounts for just 16 percent of spam-related energy use.
Spam filtering saves 135 TWh of electricity per year. That is equivalent to taking 13 million cars off the road.
If every inbox were protected by a state-of-the-art spam filter, organizations and individuals could reduce today’s spam energy by 75 percent or 25 TWh per year, the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road. (my note seems like they are just trying to pitch a product)
Countries with greater Internet connectivity and users, such as the United States and India, tended to have proportionately higher emissions per e-mail users. The United States for example, had emissions that were 38 times that of Spain.
While Canada, China, Brazil, India, the United States and the United Kingdom had similar energy use for spam by country, Australia, Germany, France, Mexico and Spain tended to come in about 10 percent lower. Spain came in at the lowest, with both the smallest amount of e-mail that was received as spam and the smallest amount of energy use for spam per e-mail user."