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Forget Google rationing: Only lighting farts can save the planet

Green-IT maven ignores the true enemy within

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Yes - every three days of your life your guts are needlessly burdening the Earth with greenhouse gas destruction equivalent to doing a Google search, according to Wissner-Gross' own figures.

It's hard to say just how many Google searches the average person does, but many of us surely manage to keep the number down to where our farting is on a par - in terms of eco-damage - with our Googling. Quite a lot of people worldwide, hard as it is to believe, don't even have computers or internet connections. But we all have bottoms.

But fret not - you can do something about it. If you light your farts and burn them like a good eco-citizen, CH4 turns into far less environmentally damaging CO2 and water vapour. At a stroke, the extra eco burden of the noxious ringpiece emissions - over and above the body's unavoidable CO2 production - has been slashed almost to nothing.

Yes, that's right. Lighting your farts is at least as ecologically responsible as feeling guilty about your IT usage (and possibly paying green-IT priests like Wissner-Gross for their absolution). Rather than signing up with co2stats.com, the truly planet-cuddly move is to encourage your acquaintances to join you with trousers down and get those Zippos snapping.

Meanwhile, Google hotly dispute the Harvard green-web maven's numbers. They say that actually a single Google uses just 0.0003 kWh, equivalent to 0.15 gCO2 - or just one-twelfth of the average person's daily rectal-methane greenhouse burden. Twelve, as it happens, is a very normal daily number of farts: so if you go by the ads'n'search firm's estimates, one Google = one guff in terms of planetary destruction.

In the future, of course, all this might change. Grid electricity might become lower-carbon in nature as wind, solar and nuclear plants supersede fossil-fuelled ones. The vestigial carbon burden of the IT industry - at most a percentage point or two of the overall problem today, by most estimates - might sink back into the obscurity it deserves.

And people like Dr Alex Wissner-Gross might bend their highly-trained brains to somewhat more pressing environmental issues. Rather than ventures like co2stats.com, we might at long last see the advent of automatic in-pant flare stack technology, able to safely and unobtrusively burn off our own personal greenhouse gas emissions - or even sequester them for later use, perhaps in a gas hob for boiling a kettle. ®

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