Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Yorker on Complicated Game of Measuring Carbon Footprint

Nice piece looks at the new Scarlet A - having an excessive carbon footprint, whether on the individual or corporate level. This piece looks at how complex though it is to accurately measure something's carbon wastefulness.

"Should the carbon label on a jar of peanut butter include the emissions caused by the fertilizer, calcium, and potassium applied to the original crop of peanuts? What about the energy used to boil the peanuts once they have been harvested, or to mold the jar and print the labels? Seen this way, carbon costs multiply rapidly. A few months ago, scientists at the Stockholm Environment Institute reported that the carbon footprint of Christmas—including food, travel, lighting, and gifts—was six hundred and fifty kilograms per person. That is as much, they estimated, as the weight of “one thousand Christmas puddings” for every resident of England."

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