Article | 1999

Exchanges between Mark Mills and Amory Lovins about the electricity used by the Internet

By Amory Lovins

In 1999, Peter Huber and Mark Mills prepared for the Greening Earth Society (funded by the coal-centric Western Fuels Association) and summarized in aForbes article, “Dig More Coal—The PCs Are Coming,” a paper claiming that the Internet used 8% in 1998, and in 2008 would use 50%, of U.S. electricity, requiring more coal-fired electricity. Amory Lovins debunked their analysis, leading to this exchange. Thorough scrutiny by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists later confirmed that Huber and Mills’s claim exaggerated IT energy use by about eightfold.