Google and greenhouse gases

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 ?

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One Response

  1. Ouch!

    Not the internet too! This does come as a rude shock.

    But as you said, it is never going to stop… how can one resist a Google search when one is too curious? and can one now stop enjoying the net?

    but as for Gaza and the rest of the world where Man has forcefully emitted these gases, I guess none would like to keep count.

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