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spam and Carbon - Another Reason to Hate spam


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...Interesting article at the UK Guardian Green Blog: "What's the carbon footprint of ... email?"



Very roughly speaking (remember that all complex carbon footprints are really best guesses), a typical year of incoming mail for a business user – including sending, filtering and reading – creates a carbon footprint of around 135kg. That's over 1% of of a relatively green 10-tonne lifestyle and equivalent to driving 200 miles in an average car.

According to research by McAfee, a remarkable 78% of all incoming emails are spam. Around 62 trillion spam messages are sent every year, requiring the use of 33bn kilowatt hours (KWh) of electricity and causing around 20 million tonnes of CO2e per year.

McAfee estimated that around 80% of this electricity is consumed by the reading and deleting of spam and the searching through spam folders to dig out genuine emails that ended up there by accident. spam filters themselves account for 16%. The actual generation and sending of the spam is a very small proportion of the footprint.

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Another reference was unearthed by Rick a while back - http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=10283

So, we can see silent filtering (and/or greylisting) is the environmentally friendly way to deal with spam! As if. Only spurs them to steal more resources to send more. And, given the fact of silent filtering etc. in a great multitude of differently-monitored and managed pathways, it is now anyone's guess as to just what the actual proportion of spam in all messages might be at the billion points of origin.

Much/most spam might be chopped off somewhere before delivery but it still consumes bandwidth until it is dropped, requiring greater capacity to compensate. Certainly the "actual generation and sending of the spam is a very small proportion of the footprint," relative to what happens after it reaches an inbox but I'm not convinced anyone has a handle on the actual "gross product".

Never mind, more than compensated, I'm sure, by the outrageously inflated CO2 emissions rates applied to everything.

I mean a 200 mile car trip ≈ 135 kg CO2 emissions? That's 3,068,181 gram molecules or over ¼ of a cubic yard of CO2 at STP (standard temperature and pressure) for each yard travelled. Seems a touch too high to me. Well, maybe if you factor in a proportion of the emissions cost of the vehicle's manufacture based on some average "product life", ditto service and maintenance on it, then the extraction, refining and distribution of the half tank of fuel, a fraction of the making and maintaining of the roadway and associated signage and signals, ... heck I have to walk more places (over wasteland :lol:) - or take more passengers with me. Anyway no beef with the figures from me, on consideration - certainly better than underestimating. Once we accept we need to consume less &/ more sustainably.

We certainly need to consume less spam.

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