Carbon Footprint of 5 Cheeseburgers? Or Mail?

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On Sunday, I blogged about research from a U.K. initiative going after large European corporations for greenwashing on the topic of e-billing. As I poked around the site some more, I found three factoids I couldn’t help but pass along. If this doesn’t get you questioning conventional wisdom about print versus e-media, you’re a tough nut.

  • 2% of the UK’s current energy requirement is demanded by data centers today. Roughly the same as the airline industry. [1]
  • One email with a 400k attachment, sent to 20 people, is equivalent to burning a 100w light bulb for 30 minutes. [2]
  • Industry research indicates that mail comprises 0.1% of total household CO2 emissions in Europe. The 14 kg of CO2 emitted is the equivalent of five cheeseburgers. [3]

Data are always debatable, of course, but the points made here are powerful — and certainly a lot of fun to talk about.

[1] BBC, “Costing the Earth: Global Warming,” April 2009
[2] BBC, “Costing the Earth: Global Warming,” April 2009
[3] CEPI Sustainability Report (2009)

Image courtesy of The Stock Exchange (uploaded by lockstockb)

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