U.S. physicist Alex Wissner-Gross claims that a typical Google search on a desktop computer produces about 7 grams of CO2. However, Google disputes the figures and says a typical search produced only 0.2 grams of CO2, BBC reports.
The Harvard academic argues that theses carbon emissions come from electricity used by the computer terminal and by large data centers that Google operates around the world.
Dr. Wissner-Gross says the search giant can return fast results because it uses several data banks at the same time.
In response, Google wrote on its official blog that Dr. Wissner-Gross’ figures were “many times too high.” Google says a typical search that returned a result in less than 0.2 seconds only used its servers for a few thousandths of a second, which amounted to 0.0003 kilowatt hour of energy per search and about 0.2 grams of CO2.
(UPDATE: Alex Wissner-Gross says he never mentioned Google in the study and that the original Sunday Times Of London article was incorrect. “For some reason, in their story on the study, the Times had an ax to grind with Google,” Wissner-Gross told TechNewsWorld. “Our work has nothing to do with Google. Our focus was exclusively on the Web overall, and we found that it takes on average about 20 milligrams of CO2 per second to visit a Web site.”)
Last year, the search giant unveiled a $4.4 trillion plan to help America kick its fossil fuel habits by 2030. Google says the plan could return a net savings of $1 trillion over the 22-year life of the plan.