Bin your PC, save the planet

EVERYONE* knows that buying a plane ticket is the moral equivalent of actually, personally strangling an entire Inuit village.

So it has come as something of a surprise to discover that the IT industry is as big a producer of carbon emissions as the aviation industry.

Apparently carrying out two Google searches uses up the same amount of electricity as boiling a kettle, according to The Sunday Times.

So expect a shrill student or an indignant comedy actor to Superglue his hand to your computer screen next time you’re thinking of typing “water-sliding doberman” into the Google search engine.


* Alistair McGowan



Filed under Environment, Whimsy

18 responses to “Bin your PC, save the planet

  1. Simon

    We were discussing this report at home the other day that two google searches uses the same amount of electricity as boiling a kettle of water, to which my wife explained, “No wonder our electricity bill is so high!”.

    I thought is best just to leave it there.

  2. Er....

    Except it isn’t true – the academic involved has denied mentioning Google:

    And the Register suggest another way to save the planet, if it isn’t too indelicate for AAT readers:

  3. Having children and/or keeping pets are probably amongst the most environmentally unfriendly things that people can choose to do. But I’m sure I saw children and dogs accompanying some of the holier than thou protesters at Heathrow…

  4. I’m a man, not a carbon footprint.

  5. John

    Google’s Official Blog:

    “In fact, in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than Google uses to answer your query…….. 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.”

  6. Auntie Flo'

    This report is nonsense.

    It takes no account of the huge amount of emissions savings that those searches, and the internet in general, facilitate.

    PC addicts consume far less CO2 for:

    Car usage
    watching television
    shopping & price research
    Regional/local distribution – HGVs
    traffic queues
    business travel
    travel to work – home based jobs
    snail mail distribution
    political activism
    vastly wasteful minicom usage
    Travel for family history research

    because we do so much of this online.

    A substantial proportion of UK’s 5 million family historians do their research almost entirely online instead of travelling to London, the PRO & GRO one day a week for 20-30 weeks of the year.

    Deaf and hearing impaired people no longer have to spend half and hour to an hour on numerous minicom conversations each day because we can keep in touch in an instant online.

    It seems to me that this claim is yet another Gordian knot of misinformation and spin designed to justify making the internet – and its political blogs and critiques – as inaccessible as possible to us great unwashed.

    Failed again, Gordon.

  7. wrinkled weasel

    Expect Gordon Brown to read your blog and think “Could be a good excuse to put a bit more tax on the sale of computers and quietly pocket the money. As long as we use the word green a few times, we might just get away with it.”

    – just as he did with Air Passenger Tax.

  8. Auntie Flo at 12.35pm: “Failed again, Gordon.”

    Huh? What are you on about? What’s Gordon got to do with a report about Google in the Sunday Times?

  9. Darn, how did you know that was my favourite Google search?

  10. madasafish

    Well I have 4 LCD monitors plus a PC and after 10 minutes lack of use they all shut down to save power. I calculated they use above 0.25KWAH.

    As my electric kettle is 3KW and takes about 3 minutes to boil that’s about 0.15KWAH.

    So my PC running for an hour uses more energy to boil a kettle IF my PC is in use all the time (which it rarely is).

  11. richard

    CO2 reduction is a massive waste of time and money anyway.

    For those that want to take a more considered view on the subejct I’d suggest a read of Lord Lawson’s excellent book “A Cool Look at Global Warming” available from Amazon.

  12. Here is your water-sliding doberman

    That cost me two trees and a begonia to find.
    Happy now?

  13. Johnny Norfolk

    I have stopped all my re cycling, I just pile it in the bin, bottles and all. My recycling bin was emptied for the last time today. I will never put it out again.


    If this Labour government bans 100w bulbs and allows Heathrow and Stanstead to expand , they are not at all bothered by how much CO2 is produced so why should I.

    I expect the labour government to lead and set the standard.

    I will not co-operate any more till they are gone.

  14. richard

    Recycling is a bit of a crock as well. Not only is the vast majority of “recycled” waste actually sent overseas (primarily to chinese landfill) but there’s no real evidence that it reduces conspicuous consumption;

    e.g. Suppose ‘ABC Ltd’ make aluminium cans at a cost of £1M per ton of raw materials. They make 10 tons of cans per annum.
    They then find out that they can also buy one ton of aluminium at a vastly reduced rate. Do you honestly think they’ll still only make 10 tons a year or do you think (for a very small increase in costs) they’ll make 11 tons and sell all of it a cheaper rate?

  15. John Smith

    I’m fairly sure The Sunday Times withdrew this story after Google proved it wasn’t true.

  16. Jay

    I don’t recycle. I don’t believe that my recycling contribution will make a jot of difference, I don’t trust the LA to respect my recycling efforts and I don’t imagine that anyone in the LA will police my lack of contribution. I haven’t yet had the knock on the door by a refuse regeneration engineer asking me why I never put out my recycling container.

    I watched a programme on C4 a couple of years ago entitled “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. What struck me was the similarity between the treatment meted out to sceptical scientists by the climate change lobbyists and that by the anti-smoking lobbyists to scientists (or, anyone) who have gone off message. In both cases there were ad hominem attacks, ostracism by peers and the lack of funding for ‘research’ that will not provide evidence for the pre-determined, desired outcome. The anti-smoking lobby parted company with truth many moons ago and, because of the above similarities, by extension, I’m highly sceptical of the green lobby.

    I’m one of the ones stockpiling ‘normal’ light bulbs.

  17. Auntie Flo'

    “Auntie Flo’, Huh? What are you on about? What’s Gordon got to do with a report about Google in the Sunday Times”

    Brown, like Blair, has established a scare mongering approach and political climate which not only makes such daft press reports possible, but encourages such nonsense from the press and media. Brown’s commission, the Stern Review, prepared by a team of Treasury economists and heavily criticised as ‘deeply flawed’, set much of the tone for this. And what did Brown have to say about the Stern Report’s flawed findings?

    “…the economic cost of this kind of climate change, the change which the world is currently headed for, would be comparable to the economic effects of a great depression combined with world war”

    The Times’ report too is one dimensional and in that sense mirrors Brown’s approach: cherry pick the worst possible case against the internet and barely mention most or all of the positive effects it has in reducing emissions. Oversimplify the issues to the point of absurdity, create an abstract case that barely interfaces with reality, thereby discourage real debate.

    That approach fuels the fires of the anti-Green lobby and conservationism, it alienates people who are undecided and it gives the Green lobby, climate change issues and Brown a bad name

  18. Auntie Flo'

    Woops, sorry

    “fuels the fires of the anti-Green lobby and Conservationism” should have stated:

    fuels the fires of the anti-Green lobby and anti-Conservationism.

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