Raw numbers have the astonishing ability to cut through woolly thinking. We recently came across one such example.
Two university professors from New Zealand show in a new book that the carbon footprint of a pet dog is more than that of an SUV that is driven 10,000km a year. In their book, Time to Eat The Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, Brenda and Robert Vale show that an average pet dog eats 164kg of meat and 95kg of cereal each year. This means that it takes 0.84ha to feed the canine pet. Less than half that land is needed to produce the energy required to power an SUV doing 10,000km a year.
Green living is often based on misconceptions. For example, eating localproduce does not always cut emissions, if you consider that growing food in the wrong sort of land needs huge amounts of fertilizer and energy. Much better to ship it from halfway around the world.
The upshot: pricing carbon is a better way to fight climate change than fashionable calls for green living.