If Harvard University physicist Alex Wissner-Gross is to be believed, his most recent research has just ruined the environment for future generations!
He’s calculated that a typical search on Google generates about 7g of CO2–due to the complex system of servers the search engine uses around the world. To put that into perspective, boiling a kettle for a cup of tea uses about the same amount of energy.
That’s all well and good, but Wissner-Gross didn’t take into account the blogosphere maxim. What’s that you ask? Any story that mentions Google, on a quiet weekend of news, AND happens to include the possibility that Google is evil, will result in dozens (hundreds) of blog posts being written.
Where are you going with this Andy? Well, consider this:
Wissner-Gross has also calculated the CO2 emissions caused by individual use of the internet. His research indicates that viewing a simple web page generates about 0.02g of CO2 per second. This rises tenfold to about 0.2g of CO2 a second when viewing a website with complex images, animations or videos.
So, by my “finger in the air” approach to science, the amount of CO2 generated by all the bloggers writing about this story–and their collective thousands of readers firing up their web browsers–amounts to leaving 200 refrigerator doors open for the entire length of the SuperBowl.
Now excuse me while I go buy a carbon offset for this post.
UPDATE: Google responds with its own numbers.