Google's Carbon Footprint

How much CO2 does a google search produce if a google search produces CO2? Well, Harvard physicist Alex Wissner-Gross did the math:

... a typical search generates about 7g of CO2 Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.”

Google is secretive about its energy consumption and carbon footprint. It also refuses to divulge the locations of its data centres. However, with more than 200m internet searches estimated globally daily, the electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by computers and the internet is provoking concern. A recent report by Gartner, the industry analysts, said the global IT industry generated as much greenhouse gas as the world’s airlines - about 2% of global CO2 emissions. “Data centres are among the most energy-intensive facilities imaginable,” said Evan Mills, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Banks of servers storing billions of web pages require power.

Link - via BuzzFeed


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I was quoted very much out of context in the Times article that you cite. That article was subsequently discredited, and they themselves backpedaled on much of what was printed in the original version.

http://eetd.lbl.gov/emills/commentary/tempest.html
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i know electronics don't use up as much power when they are 'sleeping', I'm just saying that I doubt tthe environmental impact is that much different then when google is running a search or not. It seems like this 'research' was done just to make people feel environmentally guilty about using google.

and I do think the carbon footprint / green thing has gone way too far.

Try to track down and watch Penn and Teller's show "Bullshit" - the episode about recycling.
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Harvard physicist Alex Wissner-Gross emits more CO2 per day.

...perhaps he should consider his own 'carbon footprint' and just eliminate himself from the planet. If all the whiners did the same it would be a much cooler - and quieter - peaceful planet.
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Such crap. So you turn off Google. Now if I want an answer I have to drive to the library to find it. How much carbon does that screw up?
And Razor, your analogy is just dumb. You can't compare transmitters and processors.
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You mean there are still some who remain unconvinced that the whole carbon footprint greenhouse gas offset business is a scam? "Guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt! Here's how badly you're damaging the environment; pay me a boatload of money and you'll feel better."

Bunk. Pure. And. Simple.
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