Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shoals of red herrings, or Eli goes on a snark hunt

Seeking inspiration and giggles, eli oft goes on a snark hunt looking for stuff to blog on. Mostly he has to swim through a sea of red herrings, painful mis-thinking, politics masquerading as science and your general collection of bad attitudes, not to mention classic paranoia. What the bunny has learned by reading Deltoid is that you have to stand on your head and live in Australia to get the quality stuff so he took the express INTERTUBE down there and discovered Australian Climate Madness where Simon from Sidney demonstrates that he was out of the room when they were talking about multiplication and division

The latest advert for the Toyota Prius claims that by driving one for 10 years or 100,000km, you can save 7.5 tonnes of CO2 as compared to a regular petrol-engined car.

Let's put that into perspective. If you drove a Prius for, say, 70,000 years, you would save the same amount of CO2 that a large coal-fired power station generates in a day.

Moral of the story: don't fool yourself into thinking that driving a butt-ugly hybrid car is anything but a feel-good gesture.
Having made an excellent point about closing that large coal-fired power station Simon, somehow neglected to mention that if the entire sea of gas guzzlers in Australia was replaced by hybrids (like multiply 7.5 tonnes by a few million) that would make a considerable difference.

Another way to get at that is to look at the emissions per person and Stoat's Friendly Wikipedia has the answer we need. Turns out that per capita, Australians belch ~18 tonnes CO2. Figuring that there is one car per 2 Aussies as an OOM guess, that means that replacing the family ark with a hybrid makes a ~25% difference.

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Anonymous said...

Although I think your point is valid, the maths doesn't quite add up.

A Prius emits 104g/km, about 75g/km less than an average 1.5 litre conventional car (here in the UK). That would lead to a 0.75 tonne annual reduction based on an annual mileage of 10,000 km.

That's a significant saving, but it's nowhere near 25% of the output from a typical Australian family.

EliRabett said...

Frankly I just used Simon from Sidney's number. Still the OOM seems about right to me, something like 25 % of the emissions coming from the transportation sector.

Magnus said...

You always could practise your Swedish we have our hands full atm.

Douglas Watts said...

If your feed and clothe your child, you are only saving a minuscule fraction of the world's children.

So why bother?

Anonymous said...

As it happens we in the U.S. still have some of the old vintage.

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Douglas Watts said...

Angus King, former of governor of Maine, used this same canard in 1994 when Maine was told by the EPA that it had to take several discrete steps to reduce NOX and other ground level ozone (GLOP) emissions from Maine's automotive fleet. Gov. King endlessly told the press and Maine citizens that "you can take every car in Maine and drive it into the ocean and we still won't meet federal standards" due to Maine being the "tailpipe of the Northeast" and being inundated with pollution from Mid-Atlantic states.

Myself and other clean-air advocates in Maine (via the Natural Resources Council of Maine) patiently pointed out to the Governor that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are the "tailpipe" for all the pollution Maine receives + all the pollution Maine creates that he refused to reduce.

He didn't like hearing that.