McAfee: Spam consumes 33 billion kWh per year

Posted on Saturday, Apr 18 2009 @ 12:10 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
McAfee has sponsored an ICF International study about the carbon footprint of spam e-mails, you can find the 12-page PDF over here. The report estimates a total of 62 trillion spam e-mails were sent in 2008 and that this resulted in a power consumption of 33 billion kWh, the equivalent of the electricity used in 2.4 million homes, with the same amount of green house gas emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars.
The average business email user is responsible for 131 kg of CO2 per year in email-related emissions and 22 percent of that figure is spam-related. The ICF report equates this spam energy to the emissions that would result if every business email user burned an extra 3.3 gallons of gasoline annually.

The energy required annually to create, send, receive, store, and view spam adds up to more than 33 billion KWh, approximately equivalent to 4 gigawatts of baseload power generation or the power provided by four large new coal power plants. ICF estimates spam-related emissions for all email users at an annual total of 17 million metric tons of CO2 or 0.2 percent of the total global CO2 emissions — a number equivalent to emissions from approximately 1.5 million in the United States homes.
The security firm claims spam filtering saves 135 billion kWh of electricity per year and that if everyone used a state-of-the-art spam filter the total energy consumed by spam could be reduced by 25 billion kWh, that's equivalent to taking 2.3 million cars off the road. More details can be found in the report.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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