London’s burning: At least four major fires ravage the city, damaging homes.

July 20, 2022

Though not a major contributor, the internet is responsible for 3.7% of global carbon emissions (more than aviation 3%), and can no longer be ignored.

The temperature in Britain was 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit), which would be a record high for the country. Parts of London saw fires, but evening thunderstorms provided some relief.

Burning houses in Wennington, East London (Sky News)

The recent heat wave, which broke records in the UK, France, and other countries over the past two weeks, is revealing a terrifying truth: Much of Europe wasn’t designed for intense heat or a rapidly changing climate. The highest degree of weather warning, a “red warning,” was issued by the UK Met Office for an exceptionally hot day.

  • Steel rails in London expanded and buckled as a result of the record-breaking temperatures, which reached around 120°F on the lines, according to Network Rail. The extreme heat also ignited railway tracks.
  • Roads and runways have also buckled as a result of the heat; the A14 in Cambridge was closed when it acquired a significant kink.
  • Firefighters are battling flames today as the UK becomes a “tinderbox” due to the sweltering weather.
  • More than 100 fire engines were dispatched when the London Fire Brigade declared a major incident.
  • In London, there have been fires in Upminster, Wennington, Pinner, Southgate, Croydon, Dagenham, Wembley, Hendon, and Eltham.
  • Further, fires have started in Dartford and at tourist destinations like Zennor and Nare Head in Cornwall.
  • Google and Oracle Corp’s London data centres gave way due to excessive heat, taking several thousand websites offline.

It is, to put it mildly, really uncomfortable in Europe right now, and the heat is dangerous, especially for elderly people who do not have air conditioning, yet the media portrays it as though towns melt away or spontaneously catch fire if the temperature exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

As per BBC the heatwaves caused an additional 2000 deaths in 2020 and this is likely to triple in the coming decades.

To protect vital infrastructure, think of cutting back carbon emissions fast

Potentially there are several ways to address this, including reducing air travel, switching to renewable energy sources in place of fossil fuels, and increasing the number of trees planted to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

None of these can happen particularly quickly, but some of them are simpler to pursue than others. The role of the internet, however, is one subject that is rarely discussed. We may not take the internet seriously as a driver of global warming because we cannot see the emissions it produces. No smoke is coming from the keyboards or the chimneys that are connected to the big data centres. The truth is that 10% of the world’s electricity, the majority of which comes from fossil fuels, is used by the internet.

This figure will continue to rise as more people throughout the world, particularly in the huge emerging nations in Africa and Asia, gain access to the internet; some predict that it will double within a few years.

Most people are startled to learn that the internet uses more energy than the criticised aircraft industry.

The output is immense, and we are all contributing to it, when you consider the sheer scope of internet activity, from the tablets at home and the PCs at work to the electricity used by data centres and transmission networks.

Based on just fifty thousand monthly page visits, the typical website generates over 1 tonne of carbon dioxide annually. Some websites get much more page views than that, perhaps half a million each month, which results in an astounding 10 tonnes of CO2 being released annually.

What then can we all do to address this? Fortunately for the general public, the owners of the 1.9 billion websites in existence are largely responsible.

According to calculations made by the scientific advisory board of the Eco-Friendly Web Alliance (EFWA), an eco-friendly website won’t produce more than one gram of CO2 for each page view.

Most websites can easily do it by eliminating bloat, utilising lower-resolution graphics, and not automatically playing videos when a user enters in. They can also advance further.

Businesses and organisations should choose a hosting provider that runs their services using renewable energy. Based on their own website’s emissions, you as a website owner can take action by, among other things, supporting tree planting, rewilding, or regenerative farming.

A website that promotes a healthy climate can be created by doing this. If 10 million websites worldwide implemented this, 500,000 tonnes of CO2 would be kept out of the environment.