Until fairly recently, the only time I’d had to use the word “carbon” was in chemistry lessons at school, which was a while ago. I vaguely remember using carbon copies when I first started working in an office, but maybe I shouldn't admit to that. Now, it seems, "carbon" is fashionable again. We shouldn’t even use Google without thinking about it.
According to Times Online, every time I perform a Google search, I generate about 7g of carbon dioxide. Boiling a kettle generates about 15g, the newspaper claims. Should people who drink tea while searching the web now feel even more guilty about their carbon footprints? As a lover of tea and an avid Google user, I’m now torn between doing fewer searches and drinking less.
But before I switch anything off, I google Alex Wissner-Gross, the scientist Times Online quoted in its report. He's a Harvard University physicist who has carried out research on the environmental impact of computing. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact," he is quoted as saying in the report.
My Google search reveals otherwise. Alex Wissner-Gross is not so happy about the way the newspaper has used his work. In fact, Wissner-Gross doesn't even mention Google — or tea — in his papers, or so he tells TechNewsWorld.
Meanwhile, Google has calculated that driving one kilometre produces as many greenhouse gases as doing a thousand Google searches. As I mostly work from home, I think must be easily offsetting any carbon these activities produce. I can continue to Google without a guilty conscience — and without drastically increasing my carbon footprint. I can put that kettle on, too.
Wise Words: carbon
We can use carbon in a number of word partnerships.
carbon footprint = Kohlendioxid-Bilanz
carbon offsetting = Kohlendioxid-Ausgleich
carbon costs = Kohlendioxidpreis
carbon dioxide = Kohlendioxid
carbon copy = (Kohle-)Durchschlag
And don't forget "cc". This is the abbreviation for carbon copy, but it is used today to mean "copy, or send a copy". As in "Could you cc me your report."