Panorama – Calls to ‘green the internet’ as Britons spend 6 hours a day online
The Eco-Friendly Web Alliance said websites in various sectors – including e-commerce, hospitality, tourism and the public sector – should optimize and reduce the size of their pages to avoid excessive consumption of electricity.
The internet is believed to be responsible for around 10% of global electricity consumption, much of which comes from fossil fuels.
EFWA estimates that the average website contributes two grams of CO2 emissions each time someone visits a webpage.
For high-traffic sites, this translates to needlessly sending thousands of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Electricity consumed by the Internet includes transmission networks, data centers, and end-user devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Internet usage statistics for April 2022 were released by We Are Social and Hootsuite.
They show that there are five billion Internet users worldwide, 196 million more than last year. In the UK, 98% of the population is online, the equivalent of 66.9 million people. On average, each UK user spends 6.15 hours on the web per day.
Shane Herath, President of the Eco-Friendly Web Alliance, said: “It’s great that so many people are online, but we need to be aware of the environmental impact of this.
“Tens of millions of people spend a large part of their day online, resulting in staggering electricity consumption.
“In any other sector – transportation, construction, oil production – alarm bells would ring.
“But we allowed the internet and its associated infrastructure to grow with abandon, and no one ever stopped to consider the energy and climate change consequences. The answer is certainly not to restrict access for obvious reasons, so we need to make the websites that people use more environmentally friendly.
“This can be done by reducing the page size, optimizing and reducing the amount of bloat. A few grams of CO2 might not seem like much, but when it comes to high traffic websites it soon equates to potentially thousands of tons needlessly released into the air.
“And with almost every UK resident using the internet to one degree or another, they are all unwittingly contributing to a damaging environmental situation which could easily be improved.
“The sustainability of the global digital infrastructure will be one of the next big challenges in the fight against climate change, and businesses and public sector organizations in the UK would be wise to get a head start.”