Environmental Fellow at Harvard Alex Wissner-Gross Says Times Online Got It Wrong

The Times Online UK publication wrote an article referencing a claim made by Environmental Fellow at Harvard Alex Wissner-Gross.  Google believed the claim was wrong so they wrote a counter-argument.  But it turns out that The Times Online UK misrepresented Wissner-Gross to begin with.

The claim was that everytime a search query was made on Google, seven grams of carbon dioxide was released.  Google put the estimate at 0.2 grams.  Wissner-Gross stated that his paper never mentioned how much carbon dioxide was released by websites through networks, servers, and PCs.  The paper has not yet been finalized and does not contain any data on Google.  The paper also does not even mention a seven gram figure.

Wissner-Gross did discuss broad generalizations with The Times and mention that Google uses energy that could cause carbon dioxide to be released.  The editors of the paper wanted to confirm the 7g, but Wissner-Gros snever confirmed that figure.  Wissner-Gross did see a draft of the paper and suggested some edits to be made, but they were not done.

It seems like The Times U.K. was being irresponsible in this case, making Google look like the bad guy.  And you really have to try hard to make Google look like a bad company.

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at

Environmental Fellow at Harvard Alex Wissner-Gross Says Times Online Got It Wrong Comments

  1. Eva says:

    It was such a strange article and surprising that the Times UK would not fact check everything. What I don’t understand is how the Times could have thought that the 7 grams was some magic, correct number.

    We got lucky by being able to interview Dr. Wissner-Gross this week about his thoughts. Our interview with him. Quite interesting.

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