[Guest post by DRJ]
A Harvard University physicist claims internet use, including something as simple as a Google search, has a “definite environmental impact:”
“Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.
While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, 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.”
Google searches go to competing servers to maximize a fast response, leaving Google with excess capacity that burns energy. And it’s not just Google searches that have carbon costs. The researcher claims all internet use has an adverse impact:
“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.”
The link sets forth similar concerns by other researchers.
I think we have the ability to find and use abundant energy while we also protect the environment through technology and conservation. So which will it be, my internet friends? If you’re still worried about the environment, maybe it’s time for you to log off.