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email_costA study from Ademe, a French government environmental agency, shows that sending emails may save paper, but they cost a lot of energy.

Ademe believe that emails increase a person’s carbon emissions (footprint) by up to four times, with each one creating 19g of carbon dioxide. Attaching photos is even more costly in energy.

They say that in the circuit between sender’s and receiver’s computer, each email is copied 10 times by message and relay servers. Each time a copy is made, power is used up.

Further, they estimate each person averages 58 emails in, 33 out per day, which adds up to a staggering 136kg of carbon dioxide a year per person. Web-surfing is just as heavy on the planet. A company employing 100 generates 14 tons of carbon dioxide annually, which they equate to 13 return air flights Paris to New York per year.

The answer? There isn’t one. But cutting back on the number of printed copies would make a big difference, they urge.