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Archive for the ‘Global Warming’ Category

Producing 1 kg or 2.2 lbs of veal releases the equivalent of 17 kg (37 lbs) of CO2 into the atmosphere, compared to 16 kg or 35 lbs for beef.

Posted by Digital Citizen on Sunday, May 31, 2009

Farting SheepThis data was from a British government-sponsored study, with media reference made by Jonathan Leake in the Sunday Times of London. The reason given for the higher CO2 footprint was that lambs burp (and probably farts to release methane and other greenhouse gases like you, me and the cows) a lot.

Problem was the study was advising to give up lamb roasts to save the planet, not beef. Sure, lamb roasts may be more popular in Britain than in North America, but I highly doubt it is more consumed than beef in either place. If anything, find a way to reduce cow farting and burping, possibly by altering their diets a little. Should be quite possible given you and I both know that if we don’t eat certain things, we don’t fart and burp nearly as much as other things we do eat.

Besides, even if sheep gave off more greenhouse gases than cows, I think most people would agree with me McDonald’s and other beef burgers generally make people fart more than with lamb roast, especially given what else you eat with fast food. We definitely make up for what the cows fart and burp less than the sheep.

Who does those studies and draws those kinds of conclusions???

Mary had a little lamb,
Which burped and farted lots,
Everywhere that Mary went,
She sure smelled like she rots!



Posted in Biodiversity, Canada, Environment, Farming, Food, Global Warming, Lifestyle, Statistics, United Kingdom, United States, World, ZONE | 3 Comments »

If the energy efficiency of the US’ top 10 states could be achieved by the remaining states, 30% of US electricity consumption could be saved, cutting $100 billion in electricity bills, 60% of coal fired electricity, 779 million tons of CO2 to offset the Dutch and UK emissions.

Posted by Digital Citizen on Friday, February 20, 2009

Efficiency was measured by dividing each state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (total value of all goods and services produced) by the kilowatt hours of electricity it consumed. That’s basically how much money a state could put into the economy for each unit of energy consumed.

Nice stat, but I’d bet if these states made more money per unit of energy, their lifestyle would see more spending and with it, more energy. That would reduce the “efficiency”.

However, the information is still neat to look at how widely states vary for how much they make per unit of energy spent.

New York was at the top with $7.18 for each kilowatt hour of electricity (a 15W compact fluorescent light burning for 66 hours 40 minutes, 66.7 hrs), while Mississippi was at the bottom, by far, at just over $3 per kilowatt hour.

See how other states did in comparison with this really cool interactive map!

Rocky Mountain Institute (original source)
Yahoo! Green for additional statistical comparisons for context

Posted in Conversions, Economics, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Statistics, Sustainability, United States | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is Obama Looking to Go Nuclear Alternative Energy?

Posted by envirostats on Saturday, December 20, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama recently named Harvard University physicist, though from the Kennedy School of Government, Dr John Holdren (Wikipedia profile for permanent status), as:
– Assistant to the President for Science and Technology
– Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
– Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science

In other words, Energy and Climate specialist, and White House science advisor. Dr Holden has specialties in nuclear research, global warming and climate change, among his listed research interests on his Kennedy School profile.

Obama also named 1997 Nobel Prize winner Dr Stephen Chu (Wikipedia profile for same reasons above) to head the Energy Department. According to the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) page where Dr Chu served as Director, Dr Chu also has interests in nuclear physics and global climate change, although not necessarily nuclear energy towards the latter. I say not necessarily because I’m not certain whether they just did not list it or if he thought it were not feasible. However, I can’t imagine he’s never considered the fact with nuclear energy so prevalent around the world outside of the United States (posted here on Oct 26 2007).

I’ve always supported nuclear energy as our best alternative to oil and coal, combined, if you’ve read the various value added commentary to the nuclear statistics I’ve provided, as a means of giving context to the numbers that I always provide when this was an environmental statistics blog. However, it’s more the future of it from small nuclear generators like the ones on icebreakers (CBC, May 29 2008) and nuclear submarines (Quirks & Quarks blog by Bob MacDonald, Oct 12 2007). The thought still scares some people, I’m sure, given the menacing nuclear submarine image, but I bet not that many of you knew some icebreakers were nuclear powered – a slightly different image! Still, the modern nuclear plants suffer from the same image problem as air travel. It’s the safest and least damaging energy source as air travel is the safest and least damaging way to travel, but with very rare catastrophic accidents that work on our psyche of fear when any way you measure it against similar sources, it’s so safe it’s not funny. Look at all the people building new nuclear power plants (here, Sep 19 2007)! Only the US suffers from the Jane Fonda Effect (Freakonomics! blog, Sep 15 2007)when it comes to energy. Nuclear energy is also very viable.

During the presidential campaigns, Presidential candidate Obama has stated nuclear option has to be explored (Meet the Press, May 04 2008). I had also heard John McCain and Hillary Clinton express similar views. With these latest appointments, given their backgrounds in nuclear physics and climate change, President-elect Obama seems like he’s just a little bit more intent on “exploring” nuclear energy as an alternative to coal, gas and oil. It would seem his main interest for a solution, if you ask me!

And that would be just mighty fine by me, another example of his vision and why I would have voted him President if I were American.

500 words

Posted in Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Nuclear, Politics, United States | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Britain has about 250,000 vegans as of the end of 2006, while a typical vegan in the world emits 1.5 tonnes CO2 less than a typical meat-eater because it takes 7kg of feed to produce 1kg of beef, for example, and there’s also all that methane from farting cows and nitrous oxide from fertilizer.

Posted by envirostats on Friday, January 4, 2008

There’s a lot of health benefits to being vegan, but also a lot of challenges just to stay healthy because it is hard to get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy in the quantities you need, like iron.

Looking at this statistic, you should be concerned about your health in your ability to go vegan if you are considering it, and not the nobility of global warming. You can offset the 1.5 tonnes CO2 for about $45, which is a LOT less than the cost you’re going to incur in eating meat compared to going vegan, or your doctor and health bills if you don’t go vegan sufficiently to sustain your health.

I’m not against one or the other. I’m a meat-eater, to be upfront. However, I’m not going vegan because I know I can’t without devoting far more of my life to my diet than I care to do to get the proper requirements to not only stay healthy but also to marathon training. I know others who do it and I know I can’t do what they do so props to them. I’m just trying to put things into perspective, which is part of my purpose in having this blog.

However, here is some great advice from the source article below on how to be a “caring carnivore”, a term that must just make the vegans and vegetarians cringe! [Envirostats author] 

How to be a caring carnivore

* Elect to eat one or two organic, locally produced cuts of meat a week rather than eating cheap processed meat every day

* Roast a chicken and live off it for a week, making stock from the bones and eating the leftovers – avoiding wastage

* Investigate meat alternatives such as tofu (pictured left), tempeh, textured vegetable protein and Quorn

* Buy organic milk, or try soya (pictured right), almond, oat, hazelnut or quinoa milk instead

* Chicken and pork are more carbon-efficient and produces less methane than beef

* Be aware of other good sources of protein. These include pulses, beans, nuts, seeds and, of course, soya beans

* Many kinds of bread and even some vegetarian products contain unnecessary milk products like whey, buttermilk or lactose, or eggs. Check the packaging and avoid buying non-organic dairy by avoiding these products 

– Researchers from the University of Chicago for statistics on vegan versus meat-eater emissions via The Independent, Dec 23 2007

– Unattributed source for number of British vegans, via same newspaper source and link above

Posted in Economics, Environment, Farming, Food, Global Warming, Life Cycle Analysis, Lifestyle, Statistics, Sustainability, United Kingdom, World | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

About 2.2 million hectares of sugarcane field remnants were burned in Brazil in 2006, releasing about 55,000 metric tonnes of nitrogen in the form of NOx that is 35% of the nitrogen applied to cane as fertilizer.

Posted by envirostats on Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Apparently, before chopping the cane with large machetes called facão, the workers burn huge swaths of cane fields (seems to the remnants of the cane crops on the ground) to remove dry leaves and drive off snakes and other creatures. The cleared fields are easier to cut by hand, but the massive burns create choking clouds of smoke and ash. Other insightful excerpts are below, from the source story.

Nitrogen compounds naturally vary in global warming potential, but tends to be hundreds of times that of CO2, meaning a given mass of various nitrogen gases can do several hundred times the global warming damage as the same mass of CO2.

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for reading Envirostats! [Envirostats author]

During the harvest period from April to November, a layer of ash covers cars, and NOx levels double in the main sugarcane-growing state of São Paulo, says study leader Arnaldo Cardoso of São Paulo State University.

The equivalent of 35% of the nitrogen applied to cane as fertilizer goes up in smoke, Cardoso says. Some of this comes back down and recycles nitrogen into soil to fertilize plants, but much of it does not. “This may generate impacts such as acid rain, ozone, and changes in the quality of water in rivers and lakes,” Cardoso adds.

Cardoso notes, based on his group’s previous work, that “because this season is also dry, this usually increases the particles in the air.” The combination of particles and gaseous emissions can lead to harvest-time ozone levels in the agricultural regions that are “similar to [those in] a big city like São Paulo,” he adds. A recent study by a different research group tied sugarcane burning to higher hospital admissions for asthma.

This kind of research is useful, says Mark Delucchi of the University of California Davis, “because it is important to characterize all of the environmental impacts of the bioethanol life cycle in Brazil.” The country faces growing concerns about ethanol production, and the workers who harvest cane are believed to be the most vulnerable.

– Arnaldo Cardoso of São Paulo State University via Environmental Science & Technology, Dec 5 2007

– Abstract for original research article in Environmental Science & Technology, Oct 23 2007

Posted in Environment, Farming, Food, Global Warming, Life Cycle Analysis, South America, Statistics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »