What's the Environmental Impact of a Google Search?

What's the Environmental Impact of a Google Search?

Yesterday, the UK Times Online reported that a typical Google search generates 7 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) -- about half the amount of CO2 generated from boiling water in a kettle.

According to the article,  a single Google search generates a hefty amount of CO2 because each request is sent to several competing servers, many of which are thousands of miles apart. While the system minimizes waiting time, it increases energy consumption.

Google, however, denies the Times Online's charges. The company claims that a single search uses the same amount of energy that a human body burns in ten seconds. Additionally, Google says that one search generates only 0.2 grams of CO2.

So who's telling the truth? I'm inclined to believe Google since the company has access to actual numbers, but concerned computer geeks might still want to limit their search requests.