Guest post by Alec Rawls
This could explain a few things. Greens are against searching for information. To save the planet, only follow safe links from Joe Romm, Andrew Revkin, John Cook and RealClimate. Searching bad. Vewwy vewwy bad:
It is old and busted of course, but like everything else from the anti-carbon left, it refuses to die, and just goes on eating their brains.
Anti-Googling reporter used Google to better mislead his audience
Last year the UK Times ran a Google-CO2 scare story that it had to update with a major correction. They had claimed that “a typical search generates about 7g of CO2.”
Actually, responded Google, that’s 35 times too high: “In terms of greenhouse gases, one Google search is equivalent to about 0.2 grams of CO2.”
The Times excuse was that they:
were referring to a Google search that may involve several attempts to find the object being sought and that may last for several minutes. Various experts put forward carbon emission estimates for such a search of 1g-10g depending on the time involved and the equipment used.
Yeah, if you actually research a subject, you might cram in the 35 searches necessary to reach 7 grams, except that the Times had gone on to say that its 7 gram figure needed to be multiplied by the “more than 200m internet searches estimated globally daily.” Such statistics don’t count search sessions, they count individual searches. Excuse fail.
Alex Rosin, who wrote the latest anti-web-search article, must have Googled The Times‘ correction. He refers to their same 1 to 10 grams per-search figure, but notes up-front that he is talking about search sessions:
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.
Like The Times, however, Rosin multiplies this grams per search-session figure up by the number of individual searches:
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.
About these global warming scare-claims that Rosen keeps tacking on
Turns out there is another item Rosin is omitting too. When Google issued its response to The Times, it was careful to put all of these grams-per-search figures into context by comparing them to other CO2-releasing activities:
The current EU standard for tailpipe emissions calls for 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer driven, but most cars don’t reach that level yet. Thus, the average car driven for one kilometer (0.6 miles for those in the U.S.) produces as many greenhouse gases as a thousand Google searches.
In other words:
a typical individual’s Google use for an entire year would produce about the same amount of CO2 as just a single load of washing.
Neither The Times nor Rosin sees fit to provide this relative-magnitude information to their readers. And don’t Google it either folks! That would be an eco-sin.
Priced on the greenies own terms, internet use is an infinitesimal concern
The Chicago Climate Exchange carbon market collapsed last fall, dropping from a hey-day price of $7.40/ton to less than a nickle per ton, but for argument’s sake, suppose an eco-pipe-dream tax on CO2 of $100/ton. (The actual external cost is zero or negative, because CO2 does more good than harm, but let’s calculate on their terms.)
There are 907,184 grams in a ton. Divided by the 10,000 pennies in $100, that’s 90.7 grams per penny to fully internalize the (far exaggerated) external costs of CO2. If a supersized Google session produces 10 grams of CO2, that’s 9 actual Google research sessions for a penny’s worth of way-overpriced carbon offsets, not enough to rationally enter into the calculations of even the greenest greenie.
So why are they being so irrational about this? Why all the hating on searching for information? It could just be innumeracy, which is of a piece with their buying into anti-CO2 alarmism in the first place. But maybe they really are trying to stop their minions from checking the facts for themselves.
That would actually make sense from their point of view, and why else would they omit the figures that put the energy costs of online searches into perspective? It seems that the eco-religionists really are trying to minimize Google searching, just as they want to drastically reduce car driving, plastic bag use, and butt wiping. Avoidance of information search has apparently been added to their list of eco-sacraments.