Cutting emails would save more than the planet

You don't need environmental reasons to stop sending so many messages.

by Stephen Jones

We might finally have a noble excuse to cut back on emails. As part of preparations for the COP26 environmental summit UK officials are said to be exploring the climatic benefits of reducing email volumes, the FT reports. It comes on the back of research, including some by energy company OVO last year that suggested yearly data-centre CO2 emissions could be cut by more than 16,000 tonnes if every person in the UK sent one less a day - it estimated that there were 64 million unnecessary emails sent by the UK each day. 

But before you press delete all, Mike Berners-Lee, the climate change researcher who worked with OVO on the study, is now less than convinced, pouring cold water on the “back of the envelope” maths used to calculate the impact and pointing out that emails form a miniscule part of businesses’ carbon footprint. 

Maybe we should just cut them back on them anyway.

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