Media's Newest Climate Culprit: Search Engines

June 6th, 2011 1:16 PM

Last time it was your refrigerator's ice maker, and we wondered what the media would come with next. They have outdone themselves. The latest climate culprit: Internet search engines.

The Vancouver Sun calculated in an article last week that each search engine submission emits a minuscule one to 10 grams of carbon dioxide via a small amount of electricity usage. Add up the hundreds of millions of daily submissions, the Sun wrote, "and you're making a serious dent in some Greenland glaciers" (h/t Hot Air headlines).

It's Saturday night, and you want to catch the latest summer blockbuster. You do a quick Google search to find the venue and right time, and off you go to enjoy some mindless fun.

Meanwhile, your Internet search has just helped kill the planet. Depending on how long you took and what sites you visited, your search caused the emission of one to 10 grams of carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

Sure, it's not a lot on its own — but add up all of the more than one billion daily Google searches, throw in 60 million Facebook status updates each day, 50 million daily tweets and 250 billion emails per day, and you're making a serious dent in some Greenland glaciers.

The lesson here, of course, is that technology uses energy (and widely used technologies use lots of energy). If we're going to take up print space rattling off all the modern conveniences that emit carbon dioxide, well, let's just say there aren't enough trees in the rainforest.