Did you ever wonder how much greenhouse gases Internet users generate? I didn’t,couldn’t care, till I happened by this post by blogger James Crabtree. He says he is confused by what he read in the media – that two Google searches from your desktop could generate as much carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea.
Interesting thought. But could that be true ? And blogger Crabtree, presumably, put the kettle on as he e-mailed his friend at Google. This blogger believes in getting to the bottom of it. And the British usually use up a cuppa or two as they get on with it. If Googling was environmnetally problematic, what about CO2 emissions from loads of other online activites?
Thus, rose a storm in the tea cup. Set off by a report in The Sunday Times, London; stirred up by blogger Crabtree , it gathered velocity as Google’s rapid rebuttal team got into the act. Their response – One Google search emits 0.2 grams of CO2.
Putting it in perspective, an average car driven for a km generates as much greenhouse gases as a thousand Google searches. Other interesting, if widely ignored, data Google trotted out are:
A typical Google search takes less than 0.2 seconds. In terms of greenhouse emission one G-search equals 0.2 grams of CO2.
Google data centres process 200 million searches daily. A search query goes to Google servers in the US, Europe, Japan and China.
The EU standard for tailpipe emission is 140gms. CO2 per km. But most cars don’t reach this level.
Viewing a web page we generate 0.02gm. CO2 per second; keeping the PC on produces 40 to 80 gm. per hour.
An industry analyst cited in the media says the IT sector generates as much gas as world airlines industry – 2 percent of global CO2 emission. Google, they say, has every search sent simultaneously to all its servers, instead of routing it to the nearest one. The idea is to be the fastest with results – 0.2 second per search.
Anyway, such knowledge about Internet usage and greenhouse gas emission is unlikely to change the way we use the Net. If anything, computer and broadband usage can be said to be next in line for exponential growth in India (after the cell phone revolution that is).
Speaking of an Inconvenient Truth , I wonder if anyone keeping count of CO2 emissions from the Israeli bombardment in Gaza ?