Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come out with a neat new calculator that can make sense of all those arbitrary-sounding greenhouse gas numbers.

What does a metric ton of carbon dioxide look like? The calculator shows a dozen different equivalencies, such as 114 gallons of consumed gasoline, 2.3 barrels of oil, or 0.01 acres of forest preserved from deforestation. And it’s not limited to metric tons or CO2. You also can try different amounts and different greenhouse gases.

The EPA developed the calculator to help people in communicating about reduction targets, but it’s useful to anyone trying to get a handle on the numbers.

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One Comment

  1. kenzrw
    Posted February 8, 2008 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Neat calculator. By the way, did anyone see this study done by several institutions, funded partly by NASA, including Woods Hole, Princeton and others, published in SCIENCE Mag saying corn-based biofuel may nearly double greenhouse gases as compared with gasoline when farming practices and land use are taken into account?

    “The widespread use of ethanol from corn could result in nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the gasoline it would replace because of expected land-use changes, researchers concluded Thursday. The study challenges the rush to biofuels as a response to global warming. The researchers said that past studies showing the benefits of ethanol in combating climate change have not taken into account almost certain changes in land use worldwide if ethanol from corn — and in the future from other feedstocks such as switchgrass — become a prized commodity. “Using good cropland to expand biofuels will probably exacerbate global warming,” concludes the study published in Science magazine.”

    That’s pretty scary since that program is expanding so rapidly in this country.

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