Reacting swiftly to a Harvard academic's claims that two Google searches produce as much greenhouse gas as boiling a kettle, the company has posted a blog on the subject.
"We thought it would be helpful to explain why this number is *many* times too high," the post states. "...A Google search uses just about the same amount of energy that your body burns in ten seconds... The average car driven for one kilometer produces as many greenhouse gases as a thousand Google searches."
None of this really contradicts the academic's point. But, at the same time, I get the feeling that that original point is somewhat overstated. In the original Times article, we see that Alex Wissner-Gross is estimating 7g of CO2 per search, but others are estimating between 1-10g (depending on whether you have to turn your computer on or not) or between 7-10g ("assuming 15 minutes' computer use").
There are too many variables at play here. Does a Google search really generate 7g of CO2? Probably not. But I guess the broader point - that computing contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emission - is always worth making.