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COP26 – Climate change: why esports needs to up its game

COP26 – Climate change: why esports needs to up its game

With the major discussions continuing to unfold at COP26 about climate change and how it is being managed domestically and internationally, we take a look at esports and its negative impact on the real world. 

Climate change is a harsh reality; it’s occurring right now and, at the current rate, will continue to do get worse. We all know about the negative effects of carbon emissions coming from cars and agriculture; however, did you realise just how bad gaming is for the environment? 

As the esports industry continues to develop, so too does its carbon footprint. The numbers are astounding. It is estimated that esports consumes 34 terawatt-hours of energy each year, the equivalent of five million cars on the road. 

Many companies in esports manufacture their hardware with petroleum-based substances. Additionally, esports executives and professional players travel tens of thousands of air miles a year flying around the globe to tournaments. Studies have also found that the average gamer will release 2,000 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere every year through gaming. 

However, there is good news for esports and climate action, as both spaces can easily be intertwined. In fact, there are already many actions being taken to reduce the carbon footprint in esports.  

This year, the Global Esports Federation committed to joining the Sports for Climate Action initiative to ensure a future of low-carbon emissions. Additionally, Guild Esports launched a sustainable Fortnite tournament, where a real tree was planted for every tree chopped down in-game. 

With one in three people in the UK being classified as gamers, there are many simple steps that can be taken to reduce emissions. These include supporting gaming brands that are focused on tackling climate change and are engaged in practices to at least reduce their carbon footprint, switching off your gaming console when not using it, and even turning on any eco-mode options on your TV, console. These can all make a significant impact if many gamers follow suit.  

The esports and gaming industries must consider the climate to improve the prospects of a better future. But they also have to empower their communities to follow suit. Online actions have real world implications.