Periods of heat, more frequent storms and heavy rainfall - we have known about the serious consequences of climate change not only since the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.
The Internet is also a real climate killer due to its huge power consumption. In Germany alone, the Internet produces around 33 million tons of greenhouse gases with every Google search, every website visited and every movie streamed.
Offsetting emissions by financing climate protection projects is one way of mitigating the negative consequences.
The idea behind this has been around for a long time and is quite simple.
Companies and private individuals invest in CO2 certificates that compensate for the amount of emissions emitted. Once you have bought enough certificates, you can call yourself climate neutral.
Even the emissions of one's own website can now be offset with some providers. Often measured by the monthly page views of a website, a fixed annual amount is invested in climate-relevant conservation projects in order to then be able to give the website a green stamp. So far. So good.
However, climate neutrality, which is so seemingly simple and quick to implement, has a crucial catch: although the offset payments advance climate protection projects, it in no way improves the power consumption of the company's own website, nor does it offer any other synergy effects.
Reducing power consumption: the synergies
Sustainable web design and climate-friendly hosting can significantly reduce the footprint of a website. Even existing websites can become more energy-efficient through a variety of measures with varying degrees of effort.
Only the reduction of a website's electricity consumption contributes to real climate protection, because the exclusive compensation of emissions does not produce any improvement. In our opinion, the primary goal should always be to first reduce one's company-related emissions as much as possible, and then to offset the remaining necessary emissions. It is the responsibility of companies to operate sustainably and to use existing resources carefully. To effectively counteract climate change, an interplay of measures is necessary - operating one's website in a climate-friendly manner is one among many.