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New studies show the huge environmental impact of cloud computing

Jack Stewart Jun 12, 2019
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Much of our modern lives depends on server farms, like this one, the Equinix Paris data center called PA8.
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images

Living an always-connected, app-driven life isn’t great for the environment.

It’s an issue highlighted by several recent studies that look at the carbon emissions of artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and even streaming music. They all require lots of power, and that power pours a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Researchers have been surprised by what they’ve found: Bitcoin mining and maintenance has the same carbon footprint as Kansas City. Training one typical AI model emits as much CO2 as five cars over their entire lifetimes. And streaming music services dump between 25,000 and 40,000 tons of CO2 into the air every year in the U.S. alone.

So what should companies and consumers do?

If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air.  But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.

Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.

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