A Google or a Cup of Tea: Which Warms the Globe the Most?


Image: Google and a little imagination

Note: please see the correction at the end of this article.

Which adds more to global warming: a Google search or a cup of tea? Now, thanks to the UK Sunday Times, millions will be eco-guilt tripping on the environmental impact of turning to our computers to answer every question.

Not so long ago, people would open an encyclopedia, call their doctor, or ask Grandma when an enigma arose. Now, one can hardly get through a dinner party without consulting the web to resolve some dispute of great importance. So just how many cups of tea would you have to take a pass on to compensate for an instant answer?According to the Times, the newest data has been offered up by Harvard physicist Dr Alex Wissner-Gross, who calculates a Google search averages 7 g of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Compare this with 15g to boil a kettle of water for a cup of tea. Which means the emissions from two Google seraches can be offset by skipping one cup of tea. So which are you going to take the pass on: the Google or the Tea?

Correction
The eco-guilt trip is over. Google has responded to the allegations in the Times, and Dr Alex Wissner-Gross has set the Google-CO2 record straight, denying that he is the source of the statistic attributed to him. TreeHugger seeks to provide our readers the best, filtered information. Our research indicated that Dr. Gross, a Harvard environmental fellow and holder of a provisional patent for monitoring the environmental footprint of computer networks, could be a credible source for the information reported by the Times. The author offers sincere apologies to anyone harmed by this report.

Further musings on the topic can be seen at Seven Grams CO2 per Google Search? Not True or Relevant, but Fun To Repeat.

More on Google's Environmental Impacts
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Two Google searches 'produce same CO2 as boiling a kettle'
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Google’s Green Energy Future Revealed -- It’ll Save U.S. $1 Trillion
More on Green Search Engines
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Tags: Carbon Dioxide | Global Climate Change | Google | United Kingdom