Is Google Destroying the Planet One Search At a Time?


Last month, The Times said that two typical Google searches generate the same amount of carbon emissions that are generated by boiling a kettle, “about 15g of CO2.”  This week Zaproot focuses on this and other information in its stranger than truth show “That’s Just Weird.”

As much as you might think that living life online saves a vast amount of resources, the IT industry contributes to about 2% of carbon emissions (The Times). When it comes to companies like Google, the very fact that it generates more than 200m internet searches daily, provokes concern regarding electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Although Google claims to be committed to sustainability, the truth is that typing in a term into a Google search bar, offsets many competing servers to search for content related to that particular term. All too often the search is generated by the ‘fastest’ rather than the ‘most efficient’ server.

The contentious information was initially brought to light by Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist who has also set up a website However according to Mike Harvey, Technology Correspondent for The Times, it is not clear whether Wissner-Gross has taken into consideration what it actually costs you to run your PC while you are running your search. John Buckley, managing director of, a British environmental consultancy, says that the CO2 emissions of a Google search is between 1g and 10g, and depends largely on whether you have to start your PC or not.

Google is not the only internet company that has come under scrutiny recently.  Internet favorites like Second Life and Twitter are also suspected to contribute significantly to global warming. Now just think about all the ‘tweets’ you send out on a daily basis?

You might also enjoy reading

Try the New, Green Web 3.0 : Ecopreneurist

Google to Outspend US Government on Environment : Planetsave

Google Investing Over $10 Million in Geothermal Energy : CleanTechnica

Tech Companies Fight Global Warming by Going Green : EcoLocalizer

Written by Reenita Malhotra

Reenita Malhotra Hora is an Ayurveda clinician, entrepreneur, writer and mom. Her experience has ranged from running Ayoma, an Ayurveda business to running a natural health practice at San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center.

Reenita is a published author of two books books about health and wellness: ‘Ayurveda - the Natural Medicine of India’ and
‘Inner Beauty’. She is also the Editor for Green Options Media's business blogs and a freelance writer for a variety of print and web publications.

In quieter moments, she likes to spend her time hiking, swimming the warm seas, cooking with the family or writing fantasy fiction adventure stories for kids from from 2 to 92.

Check out her wisdom at


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  1. Those numbers aren’t very accurate; the Times has already posted a clarification:

    I’ve heard a lot of arguments on both sides, and while it is interesting I can’t help but think that we’re getting really nit-picky these days. I want to do what’s right and help the environment, but I feel like this takes it too far. Everything takes energy… everything. Whether it’s fuel for your body or for your car, energy is used. Do we really need to worry about a simple Google search?

  2. Any effort no matter how small to educate the great Stumbling, Hulking, American Neanderthal is worth much more than the energy it takes! Porn sites probably burn up a lot of power to no good productive end for the nation! If you have to dig up stats and publicize them tell how many American girls ages 12 to 18 years old have STD’s? GED’s? Hymens? Do drugs habitually? are drunks? Need psychiatric care due to societal indifference and female bashing? Post Secondary candidacy? compared to Asians! How do we Americans compare in the Sciences? Maths? Physics? Engineering? Languages? How many graduates in America, this year, compared to India? China? If you really want to Shiite disturb, find out how many Indians can live on the food one great, stumbling, Hulking, American Neanderthal requires for daily sustenance? Go one further and tell how much it costs to keep one great, hulking, stumbling, American Neanderthal alive, with and without proper medical care for each day he does not work? Get the stats that count and quit screwing with the net-folk’s minds! Get the truth out! Yanker Doodle!

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