05/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Are Online Publications Really Greener Than Newspapers?

As several of our readers pointed out, weighing the environmental and climate impacts of a physical newspaper against the impacts of its online manifestation is profoundly complex. Life-cycle analyses for both forms of distribution -- that is, the detailed accounting of impacts at every stage of a product's life, from creation to use to disposal -- remain few and far between.

One study, published in 2004, compared the cradle-to-grave environmental implications of reading The New York Times the old-fashioned way with reading it on a personal digital assistant, or PDA. The conclusion: Receiving the news on a PDA results in big reductions in the release of carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen and sulfur oxides.