FORTUNE -- "Your iPhone uses more energy than a refrigerator," was Carmel Lobello's headline in The Week.
"The majority of the energy is used for cloud services, not charging the iPhone," wrote Ryan Gorman on The Mail Online, adding that "the majority of the energy used to power the cloud comes from coal."
Sounds pretty ominous, especially when you observe, as Bryan Walsh did in Time, that "the digital economy uses a tenth of the world's electricity -- and that share will only increase, with serious consequences for the economy and the environment."
Where is all this bad news coming from? From a study called "The Cloud Begins with Coal" by Mark Mills, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute who writes the Energy Intelligence column for Forbes.
Before you toss your iPhone in the recycling bin, a few points:
Whatever the cost of powering the Internet economy, iPhones are not the culprit. They are, in fact, unusually energy efficient. According to a 2012 study by Electric Power Research Institute, the cost of keeping an iPhone 5 charged is 41 cents a year. (See chart at right.)
Both Obama and Romney say that good energy policy will lead to good jobs at good wages. But that's about all they agree on.
By Brian Dumaine, senior editor-at-large
FORTUNE -- One curious thing about this year's presidential race is the prominent position energy policy has taken. This issue, which in past elections largely got relegated to the "too wonky to bother with" category, is now front and center because energy MOREOct 17, 2012 5:00 AM ET
China will grow on a scale the world has never seen before. Can that growth be green?
The environmental consequences of China's economic growth are both well-known and horrifying: more cars, more coal and more toxic crud fouling its streams and rivers. Less appreciated are the reasons for hope.
"This is a critical year, really a transformational moment," says Li Lu, the chairman of Himalaya Capital Management and a leading candidate to MOREScott Woolley - Apr 7, 2011 10:46 AM ET
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