Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Carbon Emissions

If you are trying to stay cool and/or cheerful, we definitely do NOT recommend Elizabeth Kolbert's book, Field notes from a catastrophe : man, nature, and climate change . The book is short, readable, utterly persuasive—and therefore really depressing. It's done, we've wrecked the climate system; and we show no signs that we are going to change our ways fast enough to mitigate the dismal outcome for our children and our children's children.

One of the facts she offered: "The largest single source of carbon emission in the United States is electricity production at 39 percent... (p. 134)" This particularly caught my eye because, since I got DSL, my PC is on and consuming electricity every waking minute that I am in the house. Oh dear... Well... Use the EPA's Personal Greenhouse Gas Calculator to estimate your carbon footprint. Consider your fuel economy. Look at the dismal graphic from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center.

emissions chart

The other day on a librarianly discussion list, NGC4Lib (Next Generation Catalogs For Libraries), Bruce Van Allen pointed out that "the printed-once, read-many-by-many book is far more versatile and energy-efficient than any digital form I've seen or heard discussed. Probably more durable, too. Let's acknowledge the continued economic and logistical superiority of physical books & periodicals over digital docs for: * reading without using more electrical power every single time (Al Gore and the polar bears are watching you); * reading by many people over time without needing any more equipment, printer toner, staples, paper, etc.;..." Thanks, Bruce.

No comments: