Beyonce's New Album 'Is Saving the Planet' James West explains how By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Dec 17, 2013 1:29 PM CST 10 comments Comments Beyonce performs at her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013" on Dec. 9 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Rob Hoffman/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images) (Newser) – As if Beyonce weren't badass enough already, what with her surprise new album quickly becoming iTunes' fastest-selling album ever, she's also "saving the planet" while selling hundreds of thousands of copies of the record, writes James West for Mother Jones. Consider this: It takes a lot less energy to consume digital music compared to a physical CD, and though Beyonce will eventually issue CDs, "there's reason to believe that digital downloads are beginning to erode the need for a massive physical rollout." One such reason: Target won't even sell the CD, thanks to low sales projections. "Purchasing Beyonce on iTunes instead of as a CD could result in a greenhouse gas emissions savings of between 40% and 80%," West writes, depending on how many users end up burning the digital files to a physical CD. And then there's the fact that because Beyonce didn't promote the album in advance, tens of thousands of promo CDs were not sent to radio stations for "hype" purposes. "By completely switching to digital delivery of these releases, the independent music sector could save 1,525 metric tons of CO2 annually. That's a reduction of 86%," West writes. "This may well be one of the most climate-friendly major studio releases yet." Click for his full column.