Sunday, October 25, 2009

KIWI PROFESSORS DEAD WRONG--the carbon footprint of an SUV is 11 times greater than a dog

The Carbon Footprint of an SUV is more than 11 times that of a dog

Professors Brenda and Robert Vale argue that dogs have such a large carbon footprint that they are twice as damaging as driving an SUV. Their recommendation? Give up pet ownership for less environmentally impactful and more edible proteins like rabbits, hamsters and fish. According to this logic, eating dogs would be climate-friendly.

But according to Helmut Burkhardt, their calculations are dead wrong:
“I am afraid the numbers are out of wack. Here is a ‘Fermi Calculation’ , a rough estimate.
A car driven by 100 kW power for 100 h to cover 10 000 km would use 10 000 kWh/year.
A dog ‘driven’ by 100 W food power for 24 hours would use 2.4 kWh/day, or 876 kWh/year.”

In other words, an SUV costs more than eleven times as much energy as a dog. I personally think that if drivers traded their SUVs in for a rickshaw or sled led by a dog team, the EROI for dogs would be superior to the EROI for SUVs. And that is not factoring in the energy that dogs provide you in mental health benefits. In fact the EROI ratio for dogs is most probably better than for wives in that area. (Ask Mickey Rooney or Paul McCartney. Experiment: Lock your dog and your wife in the trunk (boot) of your car and walk away for an hour, then return and open it up. Which one is happier to see you?)

One option seldom considered is cannibalism, a proven instrument for those Polynesians who achieved a sustainable population for centuries. To test the market, I would suggest that Britain’s four million vegetarians be fed to the 57 million omnivores on that crowded island, who feeling as claustrophobic as they do, should be happy to digest and compact them. If butchered efficiently, British vegetarians could supply the protein needs of British meat-eaters for the best part of a year, and reduce carbon emissions in the bargain. Sir Paul McCartney could be served up on a buffet with baby seal meat just to kick off the campaign, and his estate could be seized by the government and its proceeds used to provide free condoms for every male on the planet --- a more cost-effective prophylactic against climate change than any budget for a transition to green technology. Perhaps Sir Bob Geldoff could be included in the menu too, thereby reducing the protein requirements of Africa that his philanthropy generates.

Tim Murray
October 25/09

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