Is Using Google Toxic to Our Environment?

Some Climate Researchers are saying that 2 Google searches are equivalent to seven grams of Carbon Dioxide, which is similar to boiling an electric kettle. Are these calculations concrete or hold any ground?!?


Is it truly possible that 2 Google searches can generate that much carbon dioxide, which would be the same of boiling a kettle for one cup of tea? Well, according to Alex Wissner-Gross, who is an Environmental Specialist at Harvard University, such is possible…


Alex Wissner-Gross has stated the following:


“Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power”. He went to say: “Google are very efficient, but their primary concern is to make searches fast and that means they have extra capacity that burns energy”.


He was extremely straight up in regards to research about the impact of computing to the environment, which estimates that each Google search is equivalent to seven grams of Carbon Dioxide.


However, keep in mind, that Mr. Alex Wissner-Gross, happens to be the co-founder of Enernetics. This is an establishment and website, which permits websites to obtain data of how energy efficient their business and/or company is. However they also, sell carbon counter balances, which helps them maintain an impartial kind of status in the industry. Sure, Mr. Alex Wissner-Gross deserves a round of applause, as he’s finally made the news… But, do his claims and statements hold any ground or unbiased information?


Due to the fact, that there isn’t any published information, it’s really hard to say… Thus far, the only thing that Google has said about the matter is that they take this matter very seriously, but also, that “the energy used per Google search is minimal”. Google, also, added the following: “In the time it takes to do a Google search your own personal computer will use more energy than we will use to answer your query.”


Now, if what Google says is valid and true, then it makes Gross’s claims a total joke to say the very least… As Gross’s claims are quite alarming.


Based on what we do know from both parties – let’s do some raw sums per the information that we do know as of now. Google gets approximately millions of search queries each day from all over the globe. Although, estimates may vary on just how many queries Google receives. Though, it is certain that they range anywhere between 200 million all the way up to 500 million every day. But, worse case scenario, let us take the top figure…


If Mr. Alex Wissner-Gross was right, then we can assume that 3,500 tons of Carbon Dioxide are generated each day by us all, who conduct Google searches. Here’s another scenario – Google beams 1.28 million kilograms a year, which would mean that it’s just around the same number that Laos transmits every ear. Laos, happens to be the 151st largest emitting country in the entire world!


It’s hard not to feel or be conflicted, because if it is true, then that would be quite terrible. How can Google emit just as much as an entire country?!? Nonetheless, whether it sounds good or bad – what is most certainly true is that information technology does have a considerable impact on our environment and it rises with each day.


At the end of the day, we imagine that this itty bit of information will not have any effect on how internet users will change their habits, if at all… All we can really do is monitor the amount of electricity that we utilize on our own, personal computers and laptops and try to keep it at a minimum. However, Google is also, responsible on the amount of power that they utilize to power their servers and other hardware.


Lastly, there can also, be a debate on how internet searches have actually helped to decrease net emissions by drastically decreasing the necessity to make personal and/or physical expeditions when looking for certain information, such as a trip to a bookstore or a library. Who’s’ to say…? We still have a lot to learn about this issue.


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