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Climate change is the internet’s worst enemy

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illustration:: Jim Cooke

The internet is causing its own demise. Every line of code uses electricity, and much of that electricity comes from dirty fossil fuels. And every carbon dioxide surge from fossil fuel power plants brings the internet one step closer to ruin.

The rise of smartphones is making more information available to us than ever before, while the increasing complexity of websites means that more energy is required to provide that information. Whether it Fourteen days or YoutubeThe growing carbon footprint of the internet is a big problem. ONE 2019 report found that the production and use of digital technologies accounts for 4% of all global carbon emissions, more than global aviation emissions. The energy demand increases by 9% annually and puts the internet at the forefront of the climate crisis.

Which sucks because it turns out a lot of internet infrastructure is on the front line. Many of the fiber optic cables and hubs that make the Internet possible are at sea level. research published in 2018 shows that sea level rise over the next 15 years could permanently inundate 4,067 miles of fiber, while 1,101 hubs could also flood in the US alone. We’re not experts, but we had a saltwater feel and the internet doesn’t necessarily have to mix.

To find out if it’s true, and to find out how to make the internet less polluted and empowered in the face of climate change, we spoke to Maddie Stone on this week’s episode of System Reboot. Maddie was Earther’s founding editor and now freelances on a variety of topics, including the interface between technology and climate. She wrote a killer feature for Earther exactly this topic last year and released a piece just last week on how California’s record-breaking forest fire season is destroying cell towers and affecting first responders. It wasn’t on Earther, but we will forgive her.

Listen to our chat with Maddie on your favorite podcast app using one of the links below. And consider hitting that like and subscribe button, even if it emits the slightest carbon footprint. Then let’s fix the internet together.

Do you have a topic we would like to cover or a person we would like to interview? Let us know!

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