4 responses to “Carbon Footprint – Pitter patter of little feet or stomping big club feet? which are you?”

  1. Chris Shepherd

    It’s an interesting point. Is it better to try to make the estimeate, even if the process is flawed, and hope the estimate gets better over time. Or is it better to say that the estimate is so flawed as to be useless.
    I would actually be quite interested to know if my journey to work does materially affect the carbon footprint of the chips we produce. I suspect not but I don’t actually know.

  2. Dave Vandenbout

    Cherish the Scientist posted an interesting link a few days ago (http://summify.com/story/Tmw6KaYnDQ4qAAD7/planetsave.com/2011/08/28/who-runs-the-world-network-analysis-reveals-super-entity-of-global-corporate-control/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=general&utm_source=share) concerning the interconnected nature of international corporate ownership. It appears there is a “strongly connected component” of 147 companies that controls 40% of global commerce, and 75% of these are financial companies.

    After the implosion of the dotcom/IPO market followed by the housing/mortgage market, these firms are looking for their next investment opportunity: carbon trading. But to maximize their revenue, they need to maximize the amount of traceable carbon which goes through their trading systems. That’s one reason these new carbon footprint regulations are arriving. Governments are aiding this because it’s a new source of tax revenues and gives them additional control over their populations. Meanwhile, manufacturing companies (think GE) get to sell new “carbon-friendly” equipment to replace the old stuff. And there will be a lively underground market in bribes and payoffs for government employees.

    As for how they’ll monitor changes in your carbon footprint when roadwork delays your commute to your job, I guess they could install electronics that monitors your engine and your GPS location. Of course, they might use that information for other purposes. But hey, we all have to sacrifice to save the planet!

  3. billswift

    The main result will probably be to shift even more manufacturing overseas, especially to China, where companies and governments will have an easier time gaming the rules or out-and-out lying. If you think the Chinese will report honestly, well…

  4. Charles J Gervasi

    If reducing carbon footprint is an effective way to stop global warming, isn’t it a good idea to tax products based on their carbon footprint? That way the person buying the product is paying for her/his share of its cost to everyone else.

    I agree that it’s difficult to work out something’s carbon footprint. It’s even harder to work out that footprints exact cost on the world. If we do nothing about it, have our current period of deglaciation happen more rapidly will have huge costs. But people will not just do nothing. When it becomes cheaper to do an engineering approach, like reflective material in the upper atmosphere, than it is to build barricades to keep water out of low-lying areas, we will start doing it. We don’t know how much of the deglaciation is due to human activities (probably at least half of it is), and we don’t know how cheap the solutions we find in the next 100 years will be.

    I support having engineers work out the carbon footprint and taxing people based on it, knowing that both calculations will be far from perfect. We need new technologies that can drive the climate in the direction of human interests. When we have them, we’ll have a better idea of the cost. That won’t happen for decades though.