How much energy does one web search expend?

Author's name: 
Federico Perez
Uruguay

Recent documented studies has shown that computing and networking electricity direct and indirect (air conditioning of data centers represent 50% of the total power supply bill) consumption account for a global warming impact comparable to that of civil aviation. Most of this consumption is linked to the use of the Internet and global powerful applications such as search engines. The odds are high that the Internet traffic will be multiplied by 10 from now to 2015 making this power consumption a major issue. The information ethic behavior of the growing population of Internet users has declined steadily since the end of the 90’s when the mass-diffusion phenomenon occurred, after the birth of the World Wide Web. In the early years of networking, new users were accompanied by their pairs into the process of netiquette. Today the average behavior of users lacking information ethic background is a “bouillon de culture” for spamming, chain emails, hoaxes, replying mails without cleaning and many others wrong doing in cyberspace. Those non ethical practices may represent together an implication to the global warming which could be evaluated at more than one third of the total and the actual trend is nit for improvement. The paper recommends treating this issue as serious, revising all digital divide policies by setting the due priority to a real and effective digital literacy and offer basic recommendations to users and policy makers to start tackling it immediately.

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