And bad science reporting. It all started with this article that says Your iPhone guzzles more energy than your refrigerator (Daily Fail link - best not click). And you guessed it: that's complete bullshit.
At least they link to the source study, which is slightly more nuanced than that. Basically the gist of it is that that statement is true, but only if you take into account the whole underlying Internet infrastructure - which makes it comparing apples to oranges.
The world’s communications systems use 1,500 terawatt hours – 10 per cent of global energy and as much as Germany and Japan combined, according to the paper.
No, the study estimates 1500 TWh, and that would be more energy than Germany and Japan produce.
It takes more energy to stream a few episodes of Breaking Bad to your iPhone than it does to stamp them onto a DVD and ship them to you, according to the paper.
That's what the paper says, but the study being cited for that in the paper comes to the opposing conclusion. And that's for for an 8GB movie - (which is big - it would mean HD or BluRay quality movie) in a non energy optimized scenario. The carbon footprint of streaming is indeed bigger, but not the actual energy consumption.
The actual problem? That the Daily Fail article has been taken as is and reposted on various "green" blogs. In my opinion this kind of reporting is just making it harder to sensitise people to the idea of climate change and how bad it actually is for our environment. It also brings about badly informed supporters of the cause. So I would like it to stop.
[Top image source: flikr]