New Study released by the German Environmental Agency (UBA) Finds 5G Technologies More than Doubles GreenHouse Gas Emissions Compared to Far More Efficient Fiber Optic Streaming.
Photo Credit: Federal Environment Agency (UBA) Germany (Sept 2020)
This graph, released with other graphs in the study, shows us that all wireless transmission technologies are major greenhouse gas producers and, although levels would seem to be improving, 5G technologies are still far less environmentally friendly than wired forms of data transmission like cable, and — the clear winner — fiber optic.
5G Technologies May Look Like an Improvement but Here is Why They Aren’t
Although proponents of 5G may feel reassured that 5G data transmission (think video streaming) is less of an environmental problem than its wireless predecessors 3G and 4G, environmental advocates sternly warn otherwise.
“The reality is that companies are planning for billions of new wirelessly connected devices, which will exponentially increase energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Industry is pushing “5G” phones, which still will rely on 4G,” stated Theodora Scarato, Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust, who pointed to numerous reports that show wireless increases our carbon footprint.
“The widespread rollout of 5G will not cut energy consumption. 5G is a classic case of the Jevons Paradox. The push for 5G will increase our energy use. First, 5G clearly uses more energy than wired connections. Second, industry projects global mobile devices will grow from 8.8 billion in 2018 to 13.1 billion by 2023″.
In economics, the Jevons Paradox is when technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, however because the demand and consumption also increases, the end result is overall increased use of the resource, despite efficiency gains.
The Environment Smart and People Safe Choice
In every case, when it comes to the transmission of data technologies the clear winner from an environmentalist perspective is fiber optic, which is not only environmentally better but also faster and more secure, AND as numerous other studies show it is also far biologically safer, for technology users.
For this study, The Green Cloud Computing research project developed their method for calculating the environmental impacts of individual cloud services. For example, the environmental impacts of online storage and video streaming services were calculated. In each case, only the power required for storage and data transmission is calculated.
The energy used by end-user devices such as routers, mobile devices or televisions is not included in these calculations.
In summary the study tells us:
► Fiber optic is the most climate friendly data transmission technology.
► Wired Internet access (broadband) is better than wireless (mobile) internet access.