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Visualizing CO2 Emissions

May is a good month for commuting to work by alternate methods. Bike-to-Work Day is celebrated in many communities in May. In my town, we have a month long Commuter Challenge encouraging people to discover commuting alternatives. When I saw that the coworking space I am affiliated with had avoided about a half a ton of CO2 emissions, I started to wonder about what that volume looked like. The term 'ton' is used to mean 'a lot,' but how big is that when talking about a gas? A car weighs a ton or two (a current model Ford Focus has a curb weight of about a ton and propecia 5mg a half), but it's made from much heavier materials. CO2 is a gas, though, so it is cialis 20mg much harder to compare cialis levitra viagra have an image of what it means to have a ton of CO2.

A little research and some calculation shows that a ton of CO2 will fill a volume of about 17,850 cubic feet at standard atmospheric pressure. To help visualize it, this is roughly the volume of a two story house, about 2,000 square feet in size (25 feet deep x 40 feet wide x 17.86 feet tall). Locate a house that is about that size, then imagine that volume filled with pure carbon dioxide; that’s what one ton of CO2 is.

And that’s just the carbon dioxide. If we are talking about automobile emissions, then there are all kinds of nitrogen oxides, uncombusted hydrocarbons, soot, and other pollutants that are being put into the atmosphere, as well.

To get a sense of larger volumes, the Hindenburg was about 6 million cubic feet in volume. That would be about 336 tons if it was filled with CO2. The New Orleans Superdome has a building volume of about 123.6 million cubic feet, which would hold almost 7000 tons of CO2. It would take more than 140 Superdome buildings to contain a million tons of CO2.

Another way to look at it is to think about how long it takes for you to put a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. The EPA uses the figure of 19.4 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gas. So, roughly speaking, every 100 gallons of gas you use puts a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. A car that is driven 12000 miles and averages 24 MPG in a year puts 5 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

An earlier version of this article appeared on the GetDowntown blog.

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Another metaphor: plastic bags
written by Visual Carbon, June 02, 2011
Another way to look at CO2 is to consider another form of fossil fuel pollution people sometimes litter: plastic bags.

About 100,000 plastic bags weighs one tonne. So here are some CO2 equivalents by weight:

-- An SUV driving at highway speed litters one plastic bag equivalent per second.

-- An average car spits out 2 to 3 plastic bag equivalents per block

-- An large pickup will litter over 13 million plastic bag equivalents over its lifespan

All that fossil fuel litter is dumped directly into our ecosystems just like plastic bags can be. However CO2 also sticks around for hundreds of years and traps heat the canadian online pharmacy no prescription needed whole time.

How much heat? Ken Calidiera from Stanford calculated that the heat trapped by a molecule of CO2 is 100,000 times the heat given off when it was burned.

If you add up all the fossil fuel heat released by the average American over a year and multiply by 100,000 you end up with the equivalent of an 8,000 gallon a minute oil geyser on fire. 24/7/365. Per American. Of course it will take decades for all that heat to be trapped...but it will be trapped and heat the planet just the same.

That picture of the Hindenburg is probably pretty close to the heat each of us is unleashing all the time.

CO2 is just a very dangerous thing to visit our site viagra and women be releasing in the best price on levitra quantities we do. We would never allow it if we could see it or experience the heat front-loaded.

Of course

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