Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The green impact of Google searches

Harvard University Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross says that performing two Google searches on a desktop PC uses up the same amount of energy as boiling a kettle for a cup of coffee states the Timesonline. With this bit of research in mind it is scary to think how much greenhouse damage I am doing as a regular Google search engine user. Here I am thinking that by staying at home and avoiding driving my car, etc, I am becoming more carbon neutral. Which in actual fact if this research is true I may be causing a hell of a lot of damage to the environment from being a geek sitting at home surfing the web.

According to the Timesonline a standard search on Google creates about 7 grams of CO2 and boiling a kettle generates about 15 grams of CO2. Which to sum it up means that the more you search on the Google the more you impact the environment. It would be interesting to know how many Google searches are done by Wantoks in Papua New Guinea? So that we could measure the environmental impact that technology is having on Papua New Guinea. By using technology like search engines.

I guess the environmental impact that technology is having on Papua New Guinea and will have on Papua New Guinea at this stage can not be projected. But with a Government that is not doing anything to take into consideration what the environmental impact is going to be from putting used computers, mobile phones, etc with their highly toxic batteries and other materials into rubbish dumps around PNG. With the potential for this toxic materials to leak into water tables etc. It is hard to project what the environmental impact is.

To the governments defence PNG does not have the money to start such projects to prevent computers etc becoming landfill. So the Fat Cats at Waigani need to start thinking of a business model that can be used to make it economically viable to recycle electronic wastes etc. I know that in Port Moresby now scrap metal is a booming business and people are cleaning up metal eye sores to make a few Kina. So if a similar business model could be used may be recycling electronic waste could become a viable business model in Papua New Guinea. Thus reducing the environmental impact that technology is having on Papua New Guinea.


  1. I sympathize with the idea of trying to reduce one's carbon footprint, but honestly, its on the verge of simple idiocy.

    If people are going to concern themselves with how much they impact the environment by doing Google searches then they may as well start plugging their arses and stop taking a shit for the rest of their lives.

    Surely taking a shit creates more CO2 than a google search?

    On that note, if they really cared about CO2 emissions, why don't people just commit suicide in the name of reducing their carbon footprint and we can call them CO2 martyrs and have a rememberance day for them once a year.

  2. For those worried with energy consumption and all its downsides...

    When your screen is white, being it an empty word page, or the Google page, your computer consumes 74 watts, and when its black it consumes only 59 watts. Mark Ontkush wrote an article about the energy saving that would be achieved if Google had a black screen, taking in account the huge number of page views, according to his calculations, 750 mega watts/hour per year would be saved.

    In a response to this article Google created a black version of its search engine, called Blackle, with the exact same functions as the white version, but with a lower energy consumption, check it out.