The Atlantic: Internet Porn Is Killing the Environment

AFP/Getty
AFP/Getty

The Atlantic claims online pornography is killing the environment at a greater pace than physical pornography ever did, in an article this week.

“So many people watch porn online that the industry’s carbon footprint might be worse now that it was in the days of DVDs and magazines,” declared Atlantic writer Matt Kessler.

“Is pornography in the digital era leaving a larger carbon footprint than it did during the days of magazines and videos?” Kessler asked. “Obtaining raw numbers will always be a sticking point, because the stigmatized industry has never kept track of sales like the music and film industries, and has no significant archives. But if pornography experts’ estimates are accurate, they suggest a rare scenario where digitization might have increased the overall consumption of porn so much that the principal of dematerialization gets flipped on its head.”

“The internet could allow people to spend so much time looking at porn that it’s actually worse for the environment,” he declared, before referencing a Netflix formula. “Using a formula that Netflix published on its blog in 2015, Nathan Ensmenger, a professor at Indiana University who is writing a book about the environmental history of the computer, calculates that if Pornhub streams video as efficiently as Netflix (0.0013 kWh per streaming hour), it used 5.967 million kWh in 2016.”

Kessler then added that, “For comparison, that’s about the same amount of energy 11,000 light bulbs would use if left on for a year. And operating with Netflix’s efficiency would be a best-case scenario for the porn site.”

Users on Twitter reacted to the article with both jest and skepticism, with one user claiming that the author’s citation of anti-pornography activist Gail Dines discredited the piece.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington and Gab @Nash, or like his page at Facebook.

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