Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CO2 Stats

Interesting little widget from CO2 stats that tracks how much CO2 is being emitted by your blog or website and then offsets it for free.

I am always interested in figuring out the CO2 impact of any activity I undertake, and if this is accurate it will be nice to know the impact of web browsing. But, their website doesn't really explain how they actually calculate the value, so I have no clue as to how accurate the value is. Looks like every time I do a refresh the value goes up by about .0001 lbs of CO2, but sometimes the value is .000109, sometimes .000099 and sometimes .000149. I emailed them to see how they figure the number, but haven't heard back yet.

Their business model seems to be to get advertisers to pay for the offseting of the CO2. Considering how little the co2 impact of a hit is, it should be fairly cheap to offset. Assuming 1/10,000 of a lb per click, that gets you to 20 mil clicks per ton of CO2. If the offsetting costs $10 a ton, then you can get 2 mil clicks per dollar. I will be curious to see how this all works out for them.

via Env Econ

Update: Got an email back from them.

The widget calculates the total emissions of a web site or blog by summing the emissions created by a web site's users' computers as they interact with servers. We first calculated the global average rate of carbon emissions due the to electricity consumption of a 300-W PC/server combination (17mg of CO2/sec). We then calculate for each member site or blog the summed emissions of all the visiting clients to that website, taking into account the amount of time they spend on the website.
They are valuing it based on time spent on the blog rather than the number of pages served up. They are also taking into account the computer you are using as well as the web server.


Anonymous said...

I think your skepticism about CO2 Stats is warranted. They do not divulge how they are making their calculations, though they have gotten a lot of publicity from spreading their product around the web. Even the general description they gave you is suspect - they are just assuming that the emissions are proportional to the time spent viewing the blog. This doesn't make sense, since the servers only have to work to serve the page up. After that, you can read it for as long as you like and the servers can be helping somebody else, or can crash or whatever. No more effort is required from them until you request another page. This also doesn't differentiate between staring at blog post for 5 mintues and watching a youtube vide for 5 minutes. I'm pretty sure the server is working harder to serve the youtube video.

I recommend withdrawing support for their widget until they can show that it actually works in a way that makes sense.

Fat Knowledge said...


I think you have to make assumptions, and some of them you make might not makes sense it all cases. I think you point out some good cases when their assumptions might not be the best.

The key for me is just that they are transparent about how they calculate it and keep working on making it as accurate as possible.

I ended up just putting the counter on this post and not on the entire blog as I thought the concept was good, but like you I am not convinced the execution is there yet.

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