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The Electronic Carbon Footprint? January 13, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Odds and Ends, Technology.

It was bound to happen: a Harvard University physicist has created quite a stir for research estimating the amount of carbon dioxide generated by a typical desktop internet search. Take those insights, factor in the volume of searches handled by Google, and you have working guesstimates for the ecological impact of the world’s leader in online search.

By itself it’s pretty interesting stuff, I’d say, mainly because it puts a spotlight on the environmental impact of what goes on in the cloud. Smokestacks, gas guzzlers and endangered species intuitively come to mind when the topic of global warming climate change comes up, so the time is just about right to turn a critical eye to the internet. After all, servers, routers and all the things that keep the cloud going run on fossil fuels, too, albeit in a more indirect and far less obvious fashion.

[Measuring your Google search’s carbon footprint (Cnet)]



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