Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Whatever next?

The Jerusalem Post reports that
In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.

OK, lets do the math:
  15 grams of carbon dioxide per candle per day
x 1,000,000 candles
= 15 million grams of carbon dioxide per day

Lets convert that to tons per day:
  15 million grams per day
x 1 pound per 454 grams
x 1 ton per 2000 pounds
= 16.5 tons per day

According to the Earthlab Carbon Calculator, for a car to emit that much CO2 it would have to travel:
  16.5 tons per day
x 2000 lbs per ton
x 1 gallon of gas per 19.564 pounds of carbon dioxide
x 21 miles per gallon (avg. car in the U.S.)
= 35,465 miles per day

Well, that's a bit far to travel in one day. Lets round it up to 35,500 miles and have a fleet of cars travelling 500 miles each day, how about that? That means:
  35,500 miles per fleet of cars
x 1 car per 500 miles
= 71 cars in the fleet

So, we finally come up with 71 cars travelling 500 miles each day of Hanukkah; that is, 4000 miles each, or from New York to LA and back to Chappell, Nebraska.

Are we really worried about this? With about 150 million cars travelling an average of about 33 miles per day (12,000 miles per year / 365 days) in the U.S. for a total of 4,931,506,849 miles per day? That's 39,452,054,795 miles traveled in 8 days.

So burning a million candles on each of 8 days turns out to be the equivalent of 71 cars driving 4000 miles each (284,000 miles) ... which is .00071986% of the total emitted by all the cars in the U.S. over the same period.

I repeat, are we really worried about this?

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