The third chapter is about the internet. Even using the internet leads to an enormous CO2 footprint. At the same time it gives us a lot of possibilities to live more environmentally friendly, but See for yourself:

WHy is this relevant?

Global Internet use produces as much CO2 annually as all commercial air traffic [1]. This is mainly due to the numerous data centers that enable the global exchange of data for which a great deal of electricity is required. If the Internet was a country, it would rank sixth place in the global comparison of energy consumption[2].

At the same time, the Internet also offers many opportunities to live more sustainably. Just as there is an app for almost everything these days, there are also numerous apps that assist with living a more sustainable lifestyle. In addition, easy access to information is being provided, auch as facts about climate change. Furthermore, the global networking of the climate and sustainability movement is being enabled. One should therefore keep in mind the problems, while at the same time making use of the positive sides.


What can I do?
  • Consciously switching off and reducing
  • Use a sustainable email client & search engine
  • Reduce video quality
  • Delete old cloud files (e.g. email, pictures)
  • Download scripts to your electronic device, instead of printing

Streaming a one hour  video causes as much CO2 as driving your car for one kilometer.

1. The internet issue

You are writing a paper and unfortunately you don’t have any textbooks at home and the library is too far away – CLICK- After 1h of concentrated work you remember that it’s time to buy new shoes and a new jacket, but going to the city takes too much time – CLICK – You are bored again, so you take a study break and go on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube- CLICK, CLICK, CLICK – The boredom won’t go away, so you start texting your friends on Whatsapp – CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK – and before you know it, your ecological footprint isn’t as enironmentally friendly as you would like to think.

2. CO2-consumption

Of course now the question arises: Where does this CO2 consumption stem from? In order for us to lie comfortably on the couch in the evening and watch Netflix, a few prerequisites must be met beforehand [1,2]:

  •  The production of the infrastructure alone, i.e. the data centers, networks and fiber optic cables, leads to a massive release of CO2.
  •  Furthermore, one must also take into account the CO2 consumption in the manufacture of one’s own end devices, e.g., smartphone, smart TV, laptop, etc..
  • In addition, there is the needed electricity for charging or using the end devices.
  • A huge amount of CO2 is also emitted in the process of cooling the data centers. The servers temperature should never rise above 25 degrees, which in turn causes enormous energy consumption on hot summer days and at peak times.


Calculate your own CO2- consumption with the CO2-calculator of the Umweltbundesamts:

How can the internet help you to live more sustainable?

Use Social Media and follow Umweltreferat der TUM and der LMU on instagram!

Use sustainable apps like

  • Carbon footprint & CO2 tracker
  • HappyCow
  • NABU Siegel-Check
  • RegioApp
  • Veggly