Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's Not Global Warming, It's Google Warming!

In the "Now, What Do We Have To Worry About?" Department;

Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searches

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.

Holy Hot Search Bar, Batman!

I'm destroying the planet, just for my searching for discounted lambs wool sweaters!
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. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.”

[Snip]

Google is secretive about its energy consumption and carbon footprint. It also refuses to divulge the locations of its data centres. However, with more than 200m internet searches estimated globally daily, the electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by computers and the internet is provoking concern. A recent report by Gartner, the industry analysts, said the global IT industry generated as much greenhouse gas as the world’s airlines - about 2% of global CO2 emissions. “Data centres are among the most energy-intensive facilities imaginable,” said Evan Mills, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Banks of servers storing billions of web pages require power.

[Snip]

Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch, Rewiring the World, has calculated that maintaining a character (known as an avatar) in the Second Life virtual reality game, requires 1,752 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That is almost as much used by the average Brazilian.

“It’s not an unreasonable comparison,” said Liam Newcombe, an expert on data centres at the British Computer Society. “It tells us how much energy westerners use on entertainment versus the energy poverty in some countries.”
Hmmm ... Perhaps the first volley in what will be an epic battle down the road, "the colonisation of real space by virtual space"?

Okay folks, this means you have to cut down on your searches for Jennifer Lopez's butt, or Carmen Electra, and you can wait to see the newspapers to find out the score, or latest news, from Manchester United.

And solar power your tea ...

We've got average Brazilians to save!


Bonus Google Riffs

Garlic Exclusive! Google Launches Search for Famed Woman Aviator

Breaking News! Giant Search Engine Downed By GOP and RNC Staffers ... Google Crashes! Besieged With “I’m Feeling Lucky” Searches From White House, Congress ...Amazon, D.C. Novelty Stores Hit With Run On Magic 8-Balls

Google Fires Executive Chef; Caught Searching Recipes On Yahoo, MSN

Life Imitates Art ... Or, Did Burt Lancaster Invent Google Earth?

Stymied By Publishers, Google To Digitize Bazooka Joe Comics


1 comment:

Mark said...

Assuming CO2 causes global warming, which is far from proven.