Published July 4, 2013
As we are the nexuses of new reporting on energy and sustainability it might be of interest to consider the emissions produced on July 4th. Let’s combine several figures such as travel, the wonderful grilling performed on this day and health. This information is to record that there are carbon emissions produced on this day of celebration but in no way diminish the power of the day but to reflect on the total context.
As we travel this year to friends and family “AAA Travel projects 40.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 41.1 million people who traveled last year. The anticipated decline in holiday travel is predominantly due to a shorter holiday period.”
The emission produced on this one day of travel are profound as we consider that over 12% of the 313,847,465 (July 2012 est.) will be on the road not including trucks.
The remaining Americans will be at home or driving in spurts to acquire goods driving within a 10 miles of home as the day of cooking occurs, television, gaming and computer soar. The energy demand counterbalanced against normal weather conditions will keep the need for increased power down. Further, the increases in water as more people are home placing demands on resources.
NASA estimated in 2003,When an estimated 60 million Americans fire up their barbecue grills this Fourth of July, they’ll be burning the equivalent of 2,300 acres of forest and consuming enough energy to meet the residential demand of a town the size of Flagstaff, Ariz., for an entire year. Yet, the New York Times reported in 2011 that “FOOD is responsible for 10 to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Charcoal is made of wood, so the carbon it releases upon combustion is approximately equal to the carbon the tree it came from once removed from the atmosphere. For certain vegetables, it accounts for more emissions than agriculture, transport and disposal combined.”
“Tristram West of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory also calculated that the grills would emit nearly 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. A metric ton is equal to about 2,200 pounds. Carbon dioxide, considered a greenhouse gas, is increasing in the atmosphere each year and is thought to be a major factor in climate change.”
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association stated, “July 4 is by far the most popular day of the year for cookouts (http://www.hpba.org/index.cfm). Their survey that found that 76 percent of the nation’s grill owners use at least one of their grills that day. The survey also found that 76 percent of American households own a grill and 42 percent own more than one. Sixty-one percent own a liquefied petroleum gas grill; 48 percent own a charcoal grill; 9 percent own a natural gas grill; and 7 percent own an electric grill.”
Further, the American Lung Association connects emissions to health and air quality. “Motor vehicle emissions present both immediate and long lasting threats to public health. Smog and fine particle emissions generated by the combustion of petroleum fuels cause immediate and lifelong respiratory impacts while greenhouse gases emitted today will continue to threaten respiratory health for generations to come.”
So when we place view the content and place it in context July Fourth is a day when we celebrate, emit, relax and have a high demand for energy. Again, this information is food for thought but as we strive each day to work we must balance that against rest which too is good for our health. Happy Fourth of July to all!
- Obama’s Climate Action Plan: The Methane Problem With ‘Clean’ Natural Gas (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Global CO2 Emissions: Increases Dwarf Recent U.S. Reductions (yaleclimatemediaforum.org)
- E.U. to require ship’s to report on carbon dioxide emissions starting 2018 (ecoseed.org)
- City dwellers produce more carbon dioxide (environmentalresearchweb.org)
- Keystone XL Pipeline Cleaner and Cooler than Texas Wind Farms in Terms… (prweb.com)
- Fireworks, Grilling Safety Tips For The Fourth Of July (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Ford looks to reduce carbon footprint in supply chain (reviews.cnet.com)
- Grilling Out, the Green Way (moderncomfortblog.com)