Political parties and their websites’ carbon emissions in 2021

With the 2021 Dutch general election coming up soon, I decided to take a look at the websites of all 37 participating parties to compare their carbon emissions. The internet is vast and uses huge amounts of energy – around 3% of global electricity, in fact. Many websites are not optimized to use as little energy as required, often resulting in more carbon emissions than is necessary.

For my research, I used the Website Carbon Calculator made by Wholegrain Digital in London, UK. Their website does an excellent job of explaining how the calculations work, in case you’re interested. For every website I ran a query on their front page, which is where most visitors will start their journey. I recorded the amount of CO2 produced in grams every time someone visits that homepage.

Carbon emissions per visit: the results

The list is sorted by their position on the electoral list. All data was collected on February 10, 2021.

For more information on each party, such as its translated name or its manifesto, please see the Wikipedia article on the 2021 Dutch general elections.

PartyCO2 emission per visit in grams
VVD1.61
PVV0.77
CDA0.90
D662.98
GROENLINKS2.08
SP1.87
PvdA0.43
ChristenUnie1.57
Partij voor de Dieren3.21
50PLUS5.28
SGP0.97
DENK2.65
Forum voor Democratie3.51
BIJ10.66
JA210.27
CODE ORANJE9.35
Volt1.03
NIDA3.10
Piratenpartij1.72
LP0.77
JONG1.07
Splinter1.12
BBB4.01
NLBeter3.22
Lijst Henk Krol1.17
OPRECHT4.58
JEZUS LEEFT5.43
Trots op Nederland0.78
U-Buntu Connected Front1.03
blanco lijst met als eerste kandidaat Zeven, A.J.L.B.[1]
Partij van de Eenheid1.67
DE FEESTPARTIJ1.26
Vrij en Sociaal Nederland1.29
Wij zijn Nederland8.01
Modern Nederland1.04
De Groenen0.24
Partij voor de Republiek0.98
[1] I couldn’t find a website for this party.

The verdict

So on average, a visit to one political party website creates 2.28 grams of CO2 emissions. As of 2019, The Netherlands has a population of 17.28 million people. If everyone in the Netherlands visited one political party website, that would create 36,345 kilograms of CO2 emissions, an amount that needs 1650 trees to re-absorb back out of the atmosphere.

The best and the worst performers

The 3 websites emitting the least CO2 are:

  1. With 0.24 grams of CO2 emissions per visit: De Groenen (DG)
  2. With 0.27 grams of CO2 emissions per visit: Juiste Antwoord 2021 (JA21)
  3. With 0.43 grams of CO2 emissions per visit: Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA)

The 3 websites emitting the most CO2 are:

  1. With 9.35 grams of CO2 emissions per visit: Code Oranje (CO)
  2. With 8.01 grams of CO2 emissions per visit: Wij zijn Nederland (WZNL)
  3. With 5.43 grams of CO2 emissions per visit: Jezus Leeft (JL)

Obviously I am not a scientist, so I won’t claim these results are 100% true. Websites, and especially front pages, change all the time and, with that, their carbon emissions. Nonetheless, the research was done in a controlled manner thanks to websitecarbon.com and should provide you with a good picture of how much CO2 the websites of the political parties emit.

The purpose of my research was not to name and shame any political parties, but rather to draw attention to the fact that websites too emit carbon emissions and that we can, and should, work to limit this.

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