Your Netflix habit 'could be destroying the planet', experts warn

Rob Waugh
Is your Netflix habit destroying the planet? (Getty)

Staying in watching a streaming service might seem like a great way to cut your carbon footprint - after all, you’re not using any transport, as you’re glued to the sofa.

But services such as Netflix actually emit large amounts of carbon, due to the server farms used to deliver such videos on demand.

French think-tank Shift calculates that watching a single half-hour show on services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime emits 1.6kg of carbon, equivalent to driving 3.9 miles.


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Last year, the think-tank claims, online video streaming caused carbon emissions equivalent to the entire emissions of Spain - and it may double in five years.

Streaming video services rely on large amounts of computer equipment to deliver video instantly to viewers.

Ten hours of high-definition film consumes more data than all the English language articles in Wikipedia put together.

Maxime Efoui-Hess of Shift said that simply switching to renewables may not be enough.

'We have limited energy resources, the internet is a worldwide thing, so it would require every country in the world to be powered by renewable energy,’ she said.

Gary Cook of Greenpeace told AFP: ‘Digital videos come in very large file sizes and (are) getting bigger with each new generation of higher definition video.

‘More data equals more energy needed to maintain a system that is ready to stream this video to your device at a moment's notice.’

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