Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The election leaves a big carbon footprint

Carbon footprints of the two main candidates have overshadowed the political contest in this modern electronic age. And some have suggested that it is time the campaign trail is rethought and conducted virtually! [Washington Times]

The two candidates, Obama and McCain, as well as their entourage, have used more than 200,000 [US] gallons [757,000 litres] of jet fuel amounting to more than 2,000 tonnes of CO2. Their fleets of cars and SUVs have belched out another 87 tonnes of greenhouse gas. The grand total exceeding 130,000 tonnes of CO2, CNN reported today. But little of this CO2 has been offset. Both presidential candidates support mandates to force Americans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, so it is ironic that neither candidate has offset their wasteful use of resources. Obama has the bigger carbon footprint, at 77,894 tonnes of carbon emitted over the course of the campaign, compared to 58,786 for McCain. By comparison the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] says the average two-person household emits 5.5 tons a year [Washington Times-PDF / Standard Carbon - PDF]. To offset such a large CO2 output the two campaigns would have to plant a small forest consisting of some 3 million trees.

CNN plan to use holograms on election night. But while they are being employed more for their ‘wow’ factor, the green credentials of such technology must be applauded [ecorazzi]. In the past both Al Gore and Prince Charles have used this technology to address conferences virtually and reduce their carbon footprints. The Presidential races of the future must also make such bold steps if they are serious about reducing emissions.

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