On Sunday, the UK’s Times Online published a story claiming research by Harvard U. physicist Alex Wissner-Gross proved that just 2 searches on our favorite internet tool are spewing out the same amount of carbon as boiling a cup of tea. (story here)
7g CO2 per search (!!) is the figure the Times cited. And with the thought of all the kids googling the newest Brittney sighting non-stop I think it took about five minutes before I started feeling a little asphyxiated.
Of course, the truth of the matter wasn’t so easily settled.
It didn’t take long for search giant Google to fire back on this statistic with its own retort on its own blog (here), claiming the figure was closer to .2g. Google then went on to compare this figure to all the other things we humans do each day, like driving, using a computer and breathing.
Certainly, though, the debate is still out. Perhaps the most insightful comment was posted to the follow-up article by the same Harvard U. physicist, where he personally corrects the errors made in the Times online piece (here):
Google can try to greenwash its voracious energy hunger all it can, and pimp out a few feel-good initiatives such as the annoying electric vehicles that prowl its campus, but while its two manchild founders cavort around the world on their own private wide-body jet burning a typical individual’s lifetime’s worth of CO2 for quick jaunts to the Caribbean, we know that’s all rubbish! The greenwash rot starts at the top and percolates down from there. If Google really cared, it would make its server infrastructure public, publish its auditted CO2 emissions, and pledge to become CO2 neutral in a public, transparent fashion. Microsoft has made its server infrastructure information public, why not Google?
Posted by none other than user “altavista”.