Sunday, August 3, 2008

Surprising Results in Carbon Footprinting

Sometimes you see an image that conveys a new and unexpected fact and it just grabs you and doesn't let go. So it was was when I read this article in the New York Times in late April. The unexpected fact was about the relative carbon footprint (CF) of French vs. California wines on the East Coast (where I live). As the graphic below shows, French wines have roughly one-half the CF of California wines, almost all the difference due to the shipping of bottles and the finished wines themselves. (Click the image below for a legible version.)

A close read of the article exposes some other gems: Where is the sense in Great Britain exchanging 20 tons of bottled water a year with Australia? This is a fact that only the freight companies could love.

I'm all for eliminating tax exemptions and subsidies that hide the energy / carbon costs of our way of life. (Ultimately this philosophy has to be good for cycling!)

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