Everyone has done it – sent a quick email to say “thanks” or “no problem” to a colleague.
But the millions of unnecessary messages sent every day are pumping thousands of tons of carbon into the atmosphere, researchers say.
This is all down to the power they consume, and contributes more than 23 000 tons of carbon a year to the UK’s footprint.
While emails are an integral form of communication, if we all cut back on just one “thank you” email per day, we could save more than 16 000 tons of carbon a year, according to new a study.
This is the equivalent of 81 152 flights from London in the UK to Madrid in Spain, or taking 3 334 diesel cars off the road.
The research, carried out by OVO Energy at the end of last year, found that 49% of people living in the UK confessed to sending unnecessary emails every day.
“Have a good evening”, “cheers” and “appreciated” were among the top 10 emails sent. “Thank you”, “LOL” and “Did you get this?” were also common messages.
Despite stereotypical British politeness being the cause of many an unnecessary email, the study also found that 71% of Brits wouldn’t mind if they did not receive a “thank you” if they knew it was for the benefit of the environment.
The study is now being considered by British officials who are working on plans to tackle the climate crisis, according to the Financial Times.
Sending any email creates a carbon footprint from a combination of the electricity used to power the devices on which it is written and read, the networks that transmit the data and the data centres that store it.
Data centres account for less than 0.1% of the world’s carbon footprint, experts say.
However, this figure is expected to grow with increasing use of video calls, games and streaming. – MailOnline