Monday, January 12, 2009

35 grams of CO2 blown to find this article

A Harvard Study claims that 7 grams of CO2 are produced each time a user makes a single search on Google. Of course, Google refutes the claim.

Either way, it took me five searches, or 35 grams of CO2, to find this article. Based on the study's calculations, that's the equivalent of boiling 2 1/2 kettles of water on a gas stove.

1 comment:

Pep said...

Frankly, it seems a lot of energy per search. A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation, assuming that there are at least 3000 searches/s in the Google data centers ( and that the carbon footprint of producing the electricity to run Google data centers is ~500 g CO2/kWh (

3000 searches/s * 86400 s/day* 365 day/year * 7 g CO2/search = 662·10^9 g CO2/year

divided by 500 g CO2/kWh = 1.3 billion kWh/year

Given that US data centers consume 45 billion kWh annually (, 7 g of CO2 per search will grossly mean that 3% of those 45 billion is coming only from Google, which I would say is a too-big number... Google can't simply use 3% of US servers for searches...

Perhaps this 7 g of CO2 per search includes other stuff too.