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Sending just ONE email less every day could cut CO2 emissions by 16,000 tonnes

Everyone has done it – sending a quick email to say ‘thanks’ or ‘no problem’ to a work colleague.

But the millions of unnecessary messages sent every day are pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, researchers say.

This is all down to the power they consume, and contributes more than 23,000 tonnes of carbon a year to the UK’s footprint.

While emails are an integral form of communication, if we all cut back on just one ‘thank you’ email per day could save over 16,000 tonnes of carbon a year, according to a study.

This is the equivalent of 81,152 flights from London to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.

Everyone has done it - sending a quick email to say 'thanks' or 'no problem' to a work colleague. Research claims if we all cut back on just one 'thank you' email per day could save over 16,000 tonnes of carbon a year, according to a study (stock)

Everyone has done it – sending a quick email to say ‘thanks’ or ‘no problem’ to a work colleague. Research claims if we all cut back on just one ‘thank you’ email per day could save over 16,000 tonnes of carbon a year, according to a study (stock)

The research, carried out by OVO Energy at the end of last year, found 49 per cent of Brits confessed to sending unnecessary emails every day.

Phrases such as ‘Have a good evening’, ‘Cheers’ and ‘Appreciated’ were among the top 10 emails sent.

‘Thank you’, ‘LOL’ and ‘Did you get this?’ were also common messages.

Despite stereotypical British politeness being the cause of many an unnecessary email, the study also found that 71 per cent of Brits wouldn’t mind if they did not receive a ‘thank you’ if they knew it was for the benefit of the environment.

The millions of unnecessary emails sent every day are pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, researchers say. This is all down to the power they consume, and contributes more than 23,000 tonnes of carbon a year to the UK's footprint

The millions of unnecessary emails sent every day are pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, researchers say. This is all down to the power they consume, and contributes more than 23,000 tonnes of carbon a year to the UK’s footprint

The study is now being considered by British officials working on plans to tackle climate change, according to the Financial Times.

Sending any email creates a carbon footprint from a combination of the electricity used to power the devices on which it is written and read, the networks that transmit the data and the data centres that store it.

Data centre account for less than 0.1 per cent of the world’s carbon footprint, experts say, but this figure is expected to grow with increasing use of video calls, games and streaming.

Mike Berners-Lee, a professor at Lancaster University whose research was used to estimate the impact of cutting back on emails, did warn the estimates were based on ‘back of the envelope’ calculations in work from 2010.

He said the idea that greater efficiency automatically bring about a cut in carbon looks ‘incredibly dubious’ and that it was important to keep the emphasis on how the IT sector can contribute more significantly to reducing carbon emissions.

Emissions of greenhouse gas nitrogen dioxide dropped by a FIFTH worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic 

The coronavirus lockdown has led to a 20 per cent global reduction in the amount of nitrogen dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere between February and June.

NASA analysis looked at how much of the greenhouse gas has been produced at 5,756 sites in 46 countries. 

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is less prevalent than carbon dioxide, but is 300 times more potent as a contributor to global warming

Nitrogen dioxide is an air pollutant that is primarily produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, with major emitters being vehicles and industry.  

The drop in concentration was larger in cities, with NO2 drops of between 20 and 60 per cent seen in 50 of the 61 metropolises that were analysed. 

Previous studies indicate that since the first wave of coronavirus restrictions were eased, air pollution has increased again as people started travelling more. 

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