33 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) is used to transmit, process and filter spam
The global annual energy used to transmit, process, and filter spam is 33 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes, concludes McAfee's "Carbon Footprint of Spam" study.
The study found that spam produces the same level of green house gas (GHG) emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars using 2 billion gallons of gasoline. The study found that an estimated 62 trillion spam emails were sent in 2008, and that most of the energy consumption related to spam, 80 percent, comes from end users deleting spam and searching for legitimate email. Spam filtering accounts for 16 percent of spam-related energy consumption.
"As the world faces the growing problem of climate change, this study highlights that spam has an immense financial, personal, and environmental impact on businesses and individuals," says McAfee's Jeff Green. "Stopping spam at its source, as well investing in state-of-the-art spam filtering technology, will save time and money, and will pay dividends to the planet by reducing carbon emissions as well."
The report says if state-of-the-art spam filters were used to protect every inbox, organizations and individuals could reduce spam's energy consumption by 75 percent. However, the researchers note that although spam filtering is helpful, fighting spam at its source is even better.
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