I have always been intrigued with the Carbon footprint of the IT culture that we are building. I have found that people make the assumption that things that are free, are also free in environmental terms too. This is clearly illogical, but people somehow miss that connection.
McAfee have recently undertaken a study that highlights the massive overhead, in CO2 terms, of SPAM:
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. This
spam energy is equivalent 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
four 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 U.S. homes.
The scary part of this report is the thought that 52% of all of this energy usage is consumed by end users viewing and deleting SPAM.
I’m sure that most people regard SPAM as a nuisance, but I don’t think that many people regard it as a ecological pest also.