If you are one of the enormous number of people who spend hours on the internet looking at cat videos, you are contributing to climate change. This bold allegation has the caveat that your contribution may be limited but you are still part of the problem. Computing has overtaken aviation as the largest emitter of CO2. A breakdown of what uses the power is interesting, next year Bitcoin mining will use 1% of the worlds electricity or equal to the electricity use of Austria. The EMA (Energy Managers Association) calculated that the year after its release the Gangnam Style video having clocked up a billion downloads had used the same electricity as 67,000 houses or Ashford in Kent. So here is where the cat videos come in, for every video watched there is a carbon cost, whilst cats may not be the biggest culprit, that accolade will obviously go to cricket or more likely porn, they are still contributing to climate change.
Whilst I am more of a dog person I am not suggesting you refrain from a fixation on cute cats, looking surprised or falling out of a window, we as a society will need to realise that there is a carbon cost in our new on line community, because reading this article, texting, tweeting, whatsapping, online gaming the list goes on, are using an increasing amount of energy, most of which comes from fossil fuel. If we are really going to deal with climate change we need to start calculating the cost of computing rather than totally ignoring the problem.