Eco-worrier? Print v Screen…

There’s been an ongoing debate over whether print is worse for the planet than using a screen – some of it covered here  earlier. Today, Techcrunch has a piece which points to a Times article, which paints google as a big scary enviro-monster. According to the Times, physicist Alex Wissner-Gross has done some math:

Wissner-Gross has also calculated the CO2 emissions caused by individual use of the internet. His research indicates that viewing a simple web page generates about 0.02g of CO2 per second. This rises tenfold to about 0.2g of CO2 a second when viewing a website with complex images, animations or videos.

The piece then goes on to explore the ramifications of a simple google search – or the maintenance of a second life avatar. TechCrunch responds to The Times’ fears:

My issue with the article isn’t that it is factually incorrect – it’s that it paints Google as a malevolent force shrouded in secrecy, and that every time you use it (or one of the other mentioned companies like Twitter), you’re adding to the problem. In a word, it’s alarmist.

And continues:

single book runs around 2,500 grams of CO2, or more than 350 times a Google search. By some estimates, a single cheeseburger has a carbon footprint of around 3,600 grams – over 500 times larger than a Google search

As Kindle, iphone’s Stanza and others become more common, I suspect this debate will become more visible…


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