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The carbon and water footprints of generative AI

Some estimates of the footprints.

➤ The causes for the footprints include:

👉Electricity to run the servers

👉Water to cool down the servers

👉Both are needed during the training of the models and when users interact with it

➤Estimated electricity consumption

🌏Training GPT3 is estimated to have emitted about 502 tonnes of CO2. That's equivalent to 27 US lives. [1]

🌏User interactions with ChatGPT in January 2023 is estimated to have consumed as much electricity as 175,000 people in January 2023. [2]

➤Estimated water consumption

🌏 If GPT3 was trained in the US, the estimated water consumption for training is 3.5 million liters. If it was trained in Asia, the water consumption is 4.9 million liters [3]

🌏Each interaction with the ChatGPT consumes water. For example, for GPT3, an interaction with 20-30 questions consumes 500ml water. [3]



[1] Carbon emissions for GPT3 training

(page 120)

[2] Electricity usage of ChatGPT interactions in Jan 2023

[3] Water consumption



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