Study reveals spam mails consumed about 33 billion kilowatt hours of energy
Spam mails for most of us are annoying little things. Things we rarely give a second thought about. In fact, the only thing we usually think when we see such mails is to hit the "Delete" button.
McAfee, however, decided to do a comprehensive study on the large-scale effects of Spam, with an objective of calculating its carbon footprint, if any. With the help of climate change consultant ICF International, they completed a study and have come up with some startling facts.
Your Spam mail is not just that little pesky reminder that the Spam Filter isn't working effectively. It has a far greater effect on the environment than most of us might have ever envisioned.
The study was aimed at quantifying the effects generated by the 62 trillion spam e-mails that have been believed to be sent in 2008, on the environment. It took a microscopic look at electrical expenses and the carbon emissions indirectly caused by transmitting, reading and deleting such mails. According to Mcafee, spam mails alone were responsible for consuming as much as 33 billion kilowatt hours of energy - enough to power 2.4 million homes with electricity. Now how much emission should you expect from 3.1 million cars running on 2 billion gallons of petrol? A lot! That roughly equates the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the process of spam creation, till its deletion.
The study looked at global energy output associated with spam across 11 countries and found out some interesting facts. For example, a single spam message came at the expense of .3 grams of CO2-the same amount of CO2 released when you drive 3 feet in a car. That might sound insignificant but multiply it by the annual amount of spam generated, and it becomes equal to driving around the world 1.6 million times!
It's not all gloomy though. Enterprises would be able to reduce the energy consumption by spam by incorporating the latest spam filters. In fact, if every inbox was filtered with an effective spam filter, the energy loss from spam could be curtailed by as much as 75%. The study also revealed that most of the energy is spent in deleting the e-mails as the process involves looking for legitimate mails and deleting unwanted ones - a taxing procedure if you have a big spam problem.
You can take a look at the detailed report using the link provided at the beginning of the article. Call it ironical - you would need to furnish personally identifiable information to download it!