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Does the Internet Have A Carbon Footprint?

From: KQED
Series: QUEST
Length: 04:52

Server farms drive the Internet -- and global warming. How do we clean them up? Read the full description.

232servers160_small Server farms - those huge collections of computers that run the networks of Google, Yahoo, and other companies - are enormous users of energy. We look at efforts to make the information superhighway more efficient.

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Piece Description

Server farms - those huge collections of computers that run the networks of Google, Yahoo, and other companies - are enormous users of energy. We look at efforts to make the information superhighway more efficient.

Broadcast History

Aired twice locally during Morning Edition B segment, 5/16/08

Transcript

One of the biggest users of electricity in the United States ?and Jonathan Koomey hates to tell you this ? but it?s you. Every time you log onto the Web.
AMBI 1 room tone Koomey
ACT 1 When people are thinking about the Internet, they normally think about the computer on the desk, but behind that computer is a whole bunch of computers, running the network. Those computers use electricity.

They use a LOT of electricity, says Koomey, a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab scientist. The U-S Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in 2007, data centers used 61 billion kilowatt hours of electricity ? enough to run the entire state of Massachusetts for the year. And generating all that power, Koomey says, has big implications for our planet.
ACT 2 More than half of the electricity used in the United States is from coal. And coal?s one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissio...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

Suggested Host Intro:

When you fire up your computer in the morning and go online ? chances are you?re not thinking of the environmental impact of the Internet. You might be surprised. The server facilities that keep us all connected gobble up nearly 2 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. Generating all that power carries a big price tag - in the form of greenhouse gas emissions. From California's Silicon Valley, KQED's David Gorn reports.

Related Website

http://www.kqed.org/quest/radio/server-farms