Netflix Says Streaming for an Hour is Greener Than Driving ¼ Mile

In Netflix’s first report about its carbon footprint, the streaming giant claims that one hour of streaming on its platform in 2020 used less than 100 grams of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). This is less than driving an average car a quarter of a mile, and about the same as leaving a typical 1,000-watt window air conditioner running for about 15 minutes in North America.

The statistics were generated by a tool called DIMPACT, which was created by researchers at the University of Bristol and 12 media companies. The tool measures the emissions from all parts of Netflix’s process from suppliers to consumers, including for example a simulation of a viewer watching a show from a data center. The tool is partially industry-funded, and Netflix expects a white paper by The Carbon Trust to confirm its findings.

On Tuesday, Netflix announced plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2022 by reducing their emissions and investing in carbon storage through rainforests and natural ecosystems. The company says that streaming emissions account for 5% of its carbon emissions. However, it is excluding the streaming emissions from its plan, as Netflix says that these emissions fall to internet service providers and device manufacturers.

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