UPDATE: the first batch of Spekboom has just arrived at Chelmsford Farm. Big thanks to Andrew & Gosia for helping to offset their carbon footprint! #suscon #carbonfootprint #environment #conservation #nature #globalwarming #footprints #africa #travelafrica #volunteer #gapyear #rehabilitation #CO2e #earth #replanting #conservationproject #vegetation

New Post has been published on The Rakyat Post

New Post has been published on

Earth Hour: What is the carbon footprint of an email?

SENDING a text message or email, eating an apple or watching TV — each of these activities has a different carbon footprint.

People around the world are getting ready to mark Earth Hour by turning out the lights on Saturday, but a long list of seemingly harmless everyday actions also contribute to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other planet-harming greenhouse gases.

Total global emissions in 2010 were estimated at 49 gigatonnes (Gt or billion tonnes) of CO2 equivalent (CO2e).

These are taken from How Bad Are Bananas by Mike Berners-Lee, Fifth Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, McAfee study “Carbon Footprint of Spam”.


Even a short email is estimated to have a footprint of four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2e (3.9gCO2e) — including greenhouse gases produced in running the computer, server and routers and a part of their manufacture.

An email with a large attachment emits about 50gCO2e, and a spam message, not even opened by the recipient, is responsible for 0.3gCO2e.

The annual global footprint of spam is equivalent to 3.1 million passenger cars on the road in a year, using two billion gallons (7.6 billion litres) of gasoline.

A web search on an energy-efficient laptop leaves a footprint of 0.2gCO2e, and on an old desktop computer some 4.5gCO2e.

A cellphone text message comes at a cost of about 0.014gCO2e.


A plastic carrier bag leaves a footprint of 10gCO2e, and a paper bag 40gCO2e.


A pint (473 millilitres) of water from the tap generates 0.14gCO2e compared to 160gCO2e for a 500 ml store-bought bottle.

A large cappuccino comes at 235gCO2e, compared to 21gCO2e for a cup of black coffee or tea for which just enough water was boiled.


An hour of TV watching on a 15-inch (38-centimetre) LCD screen yields 34gCO2e, compared to 88gCO2e on a 32-inch LCD screen, and 220gCO2e on a 24-inch plasma screen.

A mile of cycling powered by a meal of bananas would be responsible for 65gCO2e, compared to 260gCO2e for a mile powered by cheeseburgers.

Meanwhile, in light of the Earth Hour celebration tomorrow, Malaysian Digest quotes Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib as saying that if 350 buildings in the city participates in the programme tomorrow, the City Hall will introduce new cycling routes in the city as a reward.

In conjunction with this year’s Earth Hour, Malaysia will be joining 162 countries worldwide to switch off their lights for one hour between 8.30pm and 9.30pm tomorrow (March 28).

-1 degree celsius + 350 ppm Co2e is the maximum carbon target that we can accept without reducing 2 out of 5 species to extinction…even at      -1 degree celsius carbon as a target will of course be an environmental crises of epic proportions, considering we use 140 % of our earths resources today means that our financial growth is tied to the limit of natural resources that is unsustainable…the future is already here, and the envronment in not over-there we are apart of the environment’s biodiversity…we need to transition to clean energy as soon as possible…be the change to reduce the future of carbon emissions…

An Analysis of “Livestock and Climate Change”

In 2006, the FAO published Livestock’s Long Shadow (LLS), which estimated that the livestock sector accounted for 18 percent of anthropogenic GHG emissions. In 2009, the World Watch Institute released Livestock and Climate Change (LCC), authored by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, which claimed that “livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,564 million tons of CO2e per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.” (pg. 11) The following page provides a critical assessment of the analysis of Goodland and Anhang. Four issues are outlined below. These issues have been identified previously byStephen Walsh. I provide additional details that add to Walsh’s critique. Keith Akers attempts to argue that Walsh’s criticisms don’t affect the main conclusion of Goodland and Anhang, but his argument relies on claims by Goodland and Anhang which confuse estimates of live animals at a point in time in a year with estimates of the total number of animals raised and slaughtered in a year (Keith refers to this as Goodland and Anhang’s “trump card.”)

Here is a brief summary of the critique:

  1. Contrary to IPCC guidelines, Goodland and Anhang add animal respiration to GHG inventories, without subtracting CO2 sinks due to photosynthesis of pastures and feed crops. They also quietly neglect to mention that the FAO estimated animal respiration, instead opting to misuse a back-of-the-envelope calculation by Alan Calverd to obtain a figure nearly three times as high as the FAO estimate.
  2. They recalculate methane emissions using the 20-year global warming potential (GWP) instead of the lower 100-year GWP, but only do so for the 37 percent of anthropogenic methane emissions that can be attributed to livestock.
  3. They adjust  emissions for an increase in the tonnage of livestock products that occurred between 2002 and 2009. However, since their base emission figures are for the year 2000, this is only appropriate if they also adjust for increases in emissions over the same period from other sources (i.e. fossil fuels).
  4. They allege that LLS undercounts the livestock population, with the FAO’s own statistics showing higher numbers than those mentioned in LLS. Based on this, Goodland and Anhang increase their emissions figures for livestock by a further 10 percent. However, this claim is not supported by FAO statistics, and appears to arise because the authors have conflated estimates of the population of animals alive at a point in time with estimates of the number of animals slaughtered in a year.

To motivate what follows, it is worth summarizing what the earlier FAO analysis is attempting to do. This is summarized in the more recent FAO publication entitled Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock, which notes “The 2006 assessment compared its estimate (based on a 2001 to 2004 reference period) with total CH4, N20, and CO2 athropogenic emissions estimated provided by the World Resource Institute (WRI) for the year 2000.” (pg. 15) The FAO is estimating the “total GHG emissions from livestock supply chains. (ibid)” and comparing it to total anthropogenic emissions in a nearby year. The FAO study is answering a well-posed research question: Of the net anthropogenic GHG emissions emitted in the year 2000, what percentage are attributable to the livestock sector?