Are Netflix & Pornhub Climate Killers?

Klimawandel Porno

At a time when the Greens are achieving high double-digit results and schoolchildren are organising school strikes for a change in climate policies, it was only a matter of time before attentive scientists also devoted themselves to the question of how our changed viewing habits of media affect the climate. As expected, the major streaming services Netflix, Pornhub & Co. are anything but CO2 neutral.

That watching pornography is bad for people would rather be a thesis the religious right or certain old-fashioned currents of feminism would say. Now, however, French researchers are trying to tackle pornography all over again. But it’s not so much about pornography itself as about the way we currently consume it. And just like our favourite series and films, today we usually do this on streaming platforms such as Pornhub, RedTube or Netflix or Amazon Prime.

French researchers have attacked streaming portals as harmful to the climate

The French climate think tank The Shift Projekt is responsible for the study, which was financed by the French state bank Caisse des Dépôts and the government agency AFD. The report states that streaming service providers, including porn portals, are responsible for 4% of global CO2 emissions. Thus, media change is not only a problem for traditional business models, but also a serious problem for climate policy.

Researchers attribute 27% of the total emissions caused by streaming to pornography. In total, porn streamers account for 1% of the worldwide CO2 emissions. The title of the study already shows a strange undertone, though, which casts doubt on its fundamental neutrality despite the reputable sponsors of the study. It is said that the aim is to achieve »digital sobriety«, a very anti-lust and retrograde approach that is unlikely to attract many supporters of the study.

Net neutrality under attack?

The authors of the report also attack the fundamental concept of net neutrality, which some argue is the basis for freedom of expression on the net, which means not to give priority to certain traffic types for reasons of its content. Apparently, the authors of the study suggest that pornographic content in global network traffic should be disadvantaged compared to scientific and educational traffic.

Overall, the CO2 emissions caused by streaming are the same as those of the whole of Spain. The share of emissions caused by pornography is as high as the total emissions of countries such as Belgium, Bangladesh or Nigeria, according to an initial analysis of the report by the science magazine New Scientist.

The expected growth of the portals poses a threat to climate

In assessing streaming portals as a problem for the global climate, the authors warn in particular against the fact that the global streaming market will continue to grow considerably in the years ahead. In the next six years, the share of CO2 emissions could increase to 8 percent, which is also due to the ever higher resolution rate of video content.

Instead of completely abandoning streaming services, New Scientist advises a more pragmatic approach. The editorial staff writes: »For individuals, upgrading our devices less often, owning less devices, and not demanding mobile high quality internet connection everywhere are probably the most important actions we can take.«

Danger of censorship through the back door of environmental policy

Despite this rather non-alarmistic advice, in the coming months and years there will probably be more and more fights over the distribution of increasingly limited CO2 emission quotas. The entire adult industry should be vigilant to ensure that no backward-looking conservatives or moral zealots use climate change as a pretext to restrict freedom of expression and sexual self-determination. It is of vital interest to the industry as a whole to fight against any ideas of censorship


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