Google Is Greener Than Thou: One Newspaper Equals 850 Searches In CO2 Emissions

Google can’t help itself. It just loves to brag about how green it is, even though its data centers use up a tremendous amount of energy. Still, on a per-search basis, it is less polluting than many alternatives – a fact it likes to remind us of, especially since it was accused of being an energy hog last January.  In a greener-than-thou blog post touting how energy efficient its data centers are compared to the industry norm, Google points out that it takes 850 searches to emit the same amount of CO2 as it does to produce and distribute one newspaper.  I wonder which activity produces the most information.

And here I thought Google was trying to make nice with the newspaper industry. I can’t wait for a Google executive to bring up this factoid at the next Congressional hearing questioning whether Google is responsible for the demise of the newspaper industry.  See, newspapers are dirty, practically evil.  How do we know?  Some Google engineers figured out the Co2 emissions comparisons on their computers. 

Cheeseburgers are even worse than newspapers.  One cheeseburger emits as much CO2 as 15,000 searches. Maybe someone should send this data over to Christine Varney at the Department of Justice. Here are a few other comparisons:

Activity Google Searches
CO2 emissions of an average daily newspaper (PDF) (100% recycled paper) 850
A glass of orange juice 1,050
One load of dishes in an EnergyStar dishwasher (PDF)
A five mile trip in the average U.S. automobile 10,000
A cheeseburger 15,000
Electricity consumed by the average U.S. household in one month 3,100,000

(Photo credit: Flickr/Lee Jordan)