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McAfee Report Reveals the Environmental Impact of Spam

A new report undertaken by spam expert, Richi Jennings, ICF International, a global firm that provides consultancy and technological solutions to issues such as climate change and environmental problems among others, has been commissioned by Internet Security Firm McAfee to investigate the carbon footprint of spam emails.

Spam emails cause everybody grief from time to time. There isn’t much that’s more annoying than unwanted emails trying to sell you products you don’t want and requests to transfer money to your bank account when all you want to know is whether your friends and family have been in touch.

McAfee’s report has revealed that it’s not just people’s time that is being wasted by the millions of spam emails landing in people’s inboxes every day, however. Spam email has a considerable carbon footprint.

The report focused on the energy used by 11 countries including the UK, America, China, Japan, India, France and Germany, uncovered that the energy used to generate, send, store, check and delete spam messages equates over the course of a year to the amount of energy it requires to power 2.4 million US homes. That is the equivalent of 33 billion kWh of electricity. The resulting carbon emissions of using this amount of energy just to deal with spam emails is equal to 3.1 million cars being on the road.

Jeff Green, McAfee’s senior vice president commented,

“As the world faces the growing problem of climate change, this study highlights that spam has an immense financial, personal and environmental impact.”

Fortunately McAfee have offered a solution to the problem. If businesses and email users were to use effective and efficient spam filtering software, it is believed that the amount of energy and resulting carbon emissions currently being wasted every year could be cut by as much as 75%; the equivalent of removing 2 million cars from the world’s roads.


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