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COP26 Website emissions? Appalling.

  • Web
  • Environment
  • Performance

Like many people worldwide, I'm awaiting the conclusion of the COP26 climate conference this week in Glasgow with hope, and not a little apprehension. Unfortunately, a case of the flu meant I was not up to having a look at the official website until this morning.

The first thing I noticed when visiting the COP26 homepage was how long it took to load, not a good sign for such a critical website. As we know, slow websites are generally polluting websites, and I immediately ran it through the website carbon calculator. The most recent test was from the , and came in at 5.70 grams of CO2 per page view; or worse than 94% of sites tested by them so far - not a good start for the official website of the conference that has been described as "'the last chance saloon' to save the world from runaway climate change".

This web page is dirtier than 94% of web pages tested. It looks like this web page uses bog standard energy.
Carbon results for on .

Wanting to get some more up to date figures, I decided to re-run the test, but it timed-out; generally a sign of very poor performance. PingdomTools reports the homepage as having a total page weight of over 18 MB. Manually running the Carbon Calculator formula on that figure results in just under 11 grams of CO2 per page view. So not only was the site bad to begin with, it now emits almost double the amount it did in July.

  • 18.1 MB = 18,100,000 bytes.
  • 18,100,000 when multiplied by repeat visits = 13,665,500 bytes per page view.
  • 13,665,500 at 1.805 kilowatt-hours of electricity per gigabyte of data = 0.022972215 kWh per page view.
  • 0.022972215 * 475 grams per kWh = 10.911802125 grams of CO2e per page view.

Website emissions are not something that people are widely aware of, but it is disappointing nonetheless that the website does not even appear to run on clean energy. It might also have been hoped that when developing a website for a major climate summit, carbon emissions would have been taken into account. COP26 is all about setting examples, and its website sets a very poor example indeed.

I have reached out via phone and email to the summit to make them aware of this, and have also tried to get in touch with Alok Sharma, the summit president. I will of course update this if I get a response.