Top 10 Truly Impressive Carbon Footprint Comparisons

The Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME) published a press release in mid-November 2022 on the environmental impacts of the digitalization of cultural services. Basically, by transforming everything that is initially physical (DVDs, CDs, Books, etc.) into a digital version. Well, believe me, some figures have left us behind! At the same time, the “Impact CO2” site published this carbon footprint comparator. Playful, interesting, and… Scary!

1. After 27 plays, it is better to buy the CD than to stream it

It all depends on the frequency of listening. If you buy a physical album to listen to once and then let it gather dust on your shelf, streaming will be much more responsible. On the other hand, if it’s your favorite album of all time, you better go to the record store! You can listen to it for decades, bequeath it to your children, who will bequeath it to their children, etc. In summary, if you listen to an album on the Internet more than 27 times, you will emit more CO2 than it takes to make the CD version, especially if you are used to connecting to listening platforms via the 4G! This mode of consumption generates even greater energy intensities than an ethernet or wifi connection. The same logic applies to movies and DVDs.


2. If you read more than 10 books a year, you better invest in an e-reader

Based on a single 300-page novel, a book actually has less environmental impact than a digital version. On the other hand, if you read more than 10 books per year (assuming that you buy them new, and that you do not reuse them), an e-reader will become more ecological. Without being based on an annual consumption, it is necessary to reach 50 books read digitally so that the tablet allows to have a lower carbon impact with each new reading (if we compare, always, to new books).

(Source: Ademe)

3. Youtube videos emit as much CO2 as Frankfurt a year

That is to say… around 10 million tonnes of CO2. 10 million tons of CO2 to watch a stranger unpack an advent calendar, you have to stop the bullshit, after a while!

4. Sending an email emits as much CO2 as a light bulb on for 6 minutes

Taking into account that in 2021, an average of 319.6 billion emails were sent per DAY worldwide. There are too many “0”s on my calculator so I can’t read the number, but believe me that’s a hell of a bunch of blisters! If this example is too vague for you, tell yourself that an e-mail without an attachment has the same carbon footprint as 500m by car. On a global scale, we then travel the equivalent of 159.8 billion kilometers per day, in terms of CO2 emissions. STOP WITH YOUR USELESS EMAILS AND YOUR UNREADABLE NEWSLETTER NOW!

The carbon footprint of an email with attached photos is that of a 500 meter car journey. Morality: stop sending photos by email

Posted by GQ France on Monday, April 11, 2022

5. 1 km by car emits as much as 112 km by TGV

He doesn’t care about your face, the controller, when he announces “Thank you for choosing the most ecological mode of transport”! We stop the private jets, and we travel in a family square, Taylor Swift! (Source)

6. A meal with beef has the same carbon footprint as 5 meals with chicken

Which themselves have the same carbon footprint as 7 meals with white fish, or 14 vegetarian meals! Yeah, with a piece of beef, you impact the planet as much as a vegetarian over a week (lunch and evening meal)! (Source)

Picture credits: Montage Topito

7. 1 liter of cow’s milk emits as much CO2 as 4 liters of soy milk

We’re not saying it tastes better, we’re just saying it’s better to drink soy milk than never drink anything again because the planet is going to die and so are we. That’s all. Nothing alarming. (Source)

8. Make a coat = travel 445 km by car

So, forget the disaster if you have to travel 445 km to get your coat ADDITIONALLY. The mess. (Source)

9. 2 years of oil heating pollute as much as 18 years of electric heating

And gas heating is not much better, since 2 years of oil equivalent to 3 years of gas heating (and we’re not talking about fat, if you know what I mean)!

10. The manufacture of a pair of shoes is equivalent to the emission of 5,661 km by TGV

That is 13.36 kg of CO2 per pair produced. When we tell you that walking is the greenest means of transport in the world, we forget to tell you that you have to walk barefoot or walk really a lot, for it to be true. (Source)

Among the few tips given by ADEME to reduce the carbon impact of digital devices: it is more responsible to download audio or video content upstream, during off-peak hours; avoid online videos as much as possible (no need to watch the clip when you listen to your favorite song); to lower the quality of the videos (not ultra-aesthetic, but we didn’t complain about it in the 2000s, so make an effort) or even to favor the use of Wifi rather than mobile networks. Come on, let’s make a little effort, all together! Youhouuu!

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