So I was at an extinction rebellion meeting yesterday and people were talking about whether reducing personal impacts from living can make a difference. Someone stood up and said that using a mobile phone for a year is equivalent to flying to New York from the UK. I didn’t want to argue with those figures so I’ve come back to do a little bit of research.
The source of this was clearly this Guardian Article and also this New York Times Article. The breakdown from the guardian article is useful but they claim that an hours use of a mobile phone would be equivalent to 1 Tonne of CO2e, which seems inconsistent with their breakdown (more realistic):
- Base station 23.1kg
- Transport before sale 1.6kg
- Manufacture 6.3kg
- Switchboard 5.6kg
- Phone energy 3.2kg
- Administration 7.1kg
The source of the tonnes of CO2 is from Viessman German Manufacturer who claim it is actually 1.4 tonnes. I thought I’d sensor check that against global CO2 emissions:
|Estimated personal mobile phone emissions per year (1 hour usage/ day)||1.4|
|With 2.7 billion mobile phones @ 1.4 Tonne per phone||3,780,000,000|
According to my calculations if every mobile phone is used for an 1 hour every day we would be producing 1,000 times the total emissions of the world.
- I’m pretty annoyed that people can spread this type of nonsense.
- I’m intrigued as to whether these claims are correct.
Has anyone got any insights into these which would be helpful?
I think as CO2 needs to become the new currency it’s important we get this right.
On the plus side if your mobile phone is from a company that powers it’s administration, switchboard and network from renewable energy, and you power your mobile phone with renewables the impact would be 0 tCO2 for the running costs. Is that correct?