Help Save the Environment: Get a Better Spam Filter?

emailAccording to a report released by computing security company McAfee, spam is a giant energy waster & has a huge carbon footprint.  Last year 62 trillion spam emails were sent, consuming enough energy to power 2.4 million homes for a year.  Additionally, we all know that anything that uses energy is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions.  According to the report, each of those 62 trillion emails was responsible for 0.3 grams of carbon dioxide for a total of 17 million metric tons of CO2.  The bulk of these emissions, approximately 80%, was due to the energy used by PC users viewing, deleting and looking for their legitimate e-mail amid all the spam. According to McAfee, is takes about 3 seconds to view and delete each piece of spam.

While this study is very interesting, Jeremy Kaplan at PC Magazine takes issue with the study.  He argues that users typically don’t turn on their computers just to view email & don’t typically turn them off once they’ve finished with that task.  He believes their computers would likely be on no matter how much spam there is because we all tend to leave our computers on too long, wasting lots of energy & creating millions of tons of CO2.

For more information on the study, see here.  For Kaplan’s article, see here.

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