Internet search giant emits 500 kg of CO2 emissions per second.
Every Google search comes at a cost to the planet. In processing 3.5 billion searches a day, the world’s most popular website accounts for about 40% of the internet’s carbon footprint.
Despite the notion that the internet is a “cloud,” it actually relies on millions of physical servers in data centers around the world, which are connected with miles of undersea cables, switches, and routers, all requiring a lot of energy to run. Much of that energy comes from power sources that emit carbon dioxide into the air as they burn fossil fuels; one study from 2015 suggests internet activity results in as much CO2 emissions as the global aviation industry.
“Data is very polluting,” says Joana Moll, an artist-researcher whose work investigates the physicality of the internet. In 2015, to illustrate the environmental consequence of Google searches, Moll created a data visualization called CO2GLE:
“Almost nobody recalls that the internet is made up of interconnected physical infrastructures which consume natural resources,” Moll writesas an introduction to the project. “How can such an evident fact become so blurred in the social imagination?”
CO2GLE uses 2015 internet traffic data, Moll says, and is based on the assumption that Google.com “processes an approximate average of 47,000 requests every second, which represents an estimated amount of 500 kg of CO2 emissions per second.” That would be about 0.01 kg per request. She says these numbers are approximations, though when Quartz shared CO2GLE with Google, the company didn’t contest the math. In fact, in a 2009 estimate, Google said each query causes 0.2 grams of CO2 emissions.
Read more at Quartz
Here’s an inside view of Google datacenters:
This makes me wonder about other services, such as the darling of liberals everywhere, Apple’s iTunes service. This is what their new datacenter in Iowa is to look like.
In their August 2017 press release for the datacenter, Apple claims this:
Des Moines, Iowa — Apple today announced plans to build a 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art data center in Waukee, Iowa, to better serve North American users of iMessage, Siri, the App Store and other Apple services. Like all Apple data centers, the new facility will run entirely on renewable energy from day one.
Facility Outside Des Moines Will Run on 100 Percent Renewable Energy
That will be some trick at night. Of course in the press release they don’t explain how they will achieve 24/7/365 100% renewable energy, they only say this:
Apple will be working with local partners to invest in renewable energy projects from wind and other sources to power the data center. Apple has pledged to power all of its global operations with 100 percent renewable energy, and has already reached that goal in the US and 23 other countries.
A noble goal, but I think at night when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, they’ll be liars. We’ve already called them out on this: Apple caught fibbing about running on 100% renewable energy
The tell will be if the new facility is hooked up to the grid or not. I’m pretty sure it will be.
Perhaps Apple will eventually go the way of Google as they realize their goal is impossible: Shocker: Top Google Engineers Say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’
Meanwhile, the claim of 100% renewable powered Apple will help those snowflakes and SJW’s feel good about listened to iTunes while penning their latest screed about how fossil fuels are bad, and isn’t that really what counts? Making people feel smart and good about using your product is the oldest marketing trick in the book.