Sunday, August 26, 2007

Of Moose and Men

The UK magazine TimesOnline picks up where Der Spiegel left off on the absurd story of Norwegian moose causing climate change:
“To put it into perspective, the return flight from Oslo to Santiago in Chile leaves a carbon footprint of 880 kilos,” said the biologist Reidar Andersen, a biologist. "Shoot a moose and you have saved the equivalent of two long-haul flights.
To put it in better perspective, at roughly the 2 metric tons, a Norwegian moose puts out about one fifth of the carbon equivalent of the typical Norwegian. You could exterminate the whole species and you'd never know the difference.

Not to be hard on the Norwegians. After all, people in the United States have twice the carbon footprint that they do (or roughly the equivalent of 10 Norwegian moose each). But these are the numbers:

120,000 Moose x 2 metric tons/year = 240,000 tons per year
4.6 Million Norwegians x 9.9 metric tons/year = 45 million tons per year
300 Million Americans x 19.8 metric tons/year = 5.94 billion tons per year

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