In what appears to be a bit of an advertisement for climateprediction.net–a distributed computing project to test the accuracy of various computer models of climate change–The Economist looks at the impact of computing on the environment; specifically carbon dioxide emissions.
According to a report published by the Climate Group, a think-tank based in London, computers, printers, mobile phones and the widgets that accompany them account for the emission of 830m tonnes of carbon dioxide around the world in 2007. That is about 2% of the estimated total of emissions from human activity. And that is the same as the aviation industry’s contribution. According to the report, about a quarter of the emissions in question are generated by the manufacture of computers and so forth. The rest come from their use.