Why it’s urgent to recognize the energy impact of streaming – rts.ch
Swiss researchers have analyzed the effects of our digital consumption and point the finger in particular at streaming. Omnipresent in our daily lives, it is very energy-intensive, but its dematerialized aspect makes awareness difficult.
L’was carried out on behalf of Swico, umbrella of the world of technology in Switzerland, as well as the economic association Swisscleantech. It shows that digital contributes globally up to 3% of CO2 emissions.
And streaming is the most bandwidth-intensive service: streaming, whether music, video or linked to videoconferences, is fraught with consequences in terms of energy consumption and carbon footprint.
The researchers cite as an example the approximately 4.6 billion plays of the famous song “Despacito” in less than a year (8 billion today). This streaming consumed as much electricity as five African countries combined: Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic.
“Streaming is falsely dematerialized”
Interviewed on Tuesday in the RTS Forum program, Bela Loto, founder of the(House of Responsible Computing), emphasizes that this comparison materializes this impact.
“We must not forget that when we ‘stream’, we have a terminal that allows us to do so”, notes this activist in favor of a more responsible digital. “You could say that streaming is immaterial, that’s what we hear very often, but it’s falsely dematerialized: it takes servers, networks and terminals (smartphone, computer, TV, etc.). is what will consume the most and have the strongest environmental impact because of their manufacture”.
“We are not going to tell people that streaming pollutes”
“There are many things that make our lives easier, but whose impacts or consequences we do not measure, we are not interested in knowing it”, continues Bela Loto. “And if we have to sell streaming services, we’re not going to tell people that it pollutes a lot”.
We therefore need to be aware, but this is difficult “since we were sold streaming in the form of dematerialization (…), of a ‘cloud’ that makes you dream”, further notes the founder of Point by MIR
“Good practice is to extend the life of the equipment”
Information and awareness are therefore all the more important, especially among young people. But good practices must extend to all aspects, stresses Bela Loto. “The purchase of a new device should be postponed as much as possible. Good practice is to extend the life of the equipment, this is what must be kept in mind”.
And consumers are obviously not the only ones to bear the responsibility for this excessive energy consumption. The solutions are also the responsibility of the States – which must legislate – and of companies. “The sinews of war is to sell less, but better,” believes Bela Loto.
To reduce the electricity consumption of streaming, underlines for its part the Zurich study, it would be necessary to privilege the sound and to reduce the resolution or the size of the screen to watch a video.
oang with Tania Sazpinar
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