Following scrutiny in 2009, Google released information about its carbon footprint for the first time and it is on par with the United Nations'.

Google's carbon footprint is on a par with the United Nations, the internet giant revealed on Thursday as it published its energy usage for the first time.

Google says that it emits 1.5m tonnes of carbon annually but claims that its data centres consume 50% less energy than the industry average. The emissions are slightly higher than the country of Laos in south-east Asia and equivalent to the UN's operational footprint.

The company said that many of its “cloud-based” services for businesses, such as its popular Gmail system, can be up to 80 times less polluting than traditional alternatives, which require companies to operate their own, potentially more inefficient servers.

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