The New Scientist recently reported that the amount of energy it requires to run the servers that supply the backbone for the Internet and information technology is extremely high. Like 2% of global emissions, the same as the aviation industry. I think we all know about flying and how much emissions are created, but usually you don't hear about the emissions associated with information and communications technology.
It's rather amazing, but it makes sense. Researchers found that the worldwide power consumption by computer servers overall had doubled between 2000 and 2005. A number of industry giants such as Intel, Dell, Microsoft, IBM and Sun are participating in a collaboration known as the Green Grid, which aims to reduce inefficiencies in data centers and switch to greener energy sources such as solar and hydro as well as converting alternating current from the mains to one-time direct current to reduce the load.
Don't think you use a data center? Well, anytime you download video, send an email or buy something online using a credit card, these transactions go through a data center. Between YouTube, free email with unlimited storage and other daily Internet experiences you are adding to the huge draw of energy required to keep things running.
So, are we bloggers a part of the blame? Are we contributing to global warming and the energy expenditure that we fight tooth and nail to reduce? Or does the information that we share and the inspiration that we provide counterbalance the cost of this network?
What do you think?