How does my Internet use affect the climate?

When you turn on your laptop and connect to the Internet, you may think you’re only using electricity to power your computer. But information on the Internet is stored physically on servers, which require electricity. These servers run on a mix of power sources, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewables. The breakdown depends on the company that owns the servers as well as the geographic location of the servers. Servers run 24/7 so that users can access their data at all times.

We know that as a result of burning fossil fuels to power human activities, the average global temperature is increasing. Until we pressure AWS to reach 100% renewable energy, each time you open a site hosted by AWS, you’re promoting the use of coal-fired power.

Tech- and investment-advisory firm Digital Power Group released a report estimating that the total energy input of streaming a full-length movie from the cloud is more than what it would have taken to manufacture and ship a the same movie as a DVD. This highlights the importance of pushing companies like AWS to transition to renewables as quickly as possible.