Paul Tullis's Grim Tidings

Bitter musings on politics and policy

Dog's carbon footprint twice that of a Land Cruiser?

with 3 comments

New Scientist reports on a study calculating the carbon footprints of various pets. The worst, chiefly because of its consumption of meat, is a dog:

A medium-sized dog would consume 90 grams of meat and 156 grams of cereals daily in its recommended 300-gram portion of dried dog food.…That means that over the course of a year, Fido wolfs down about 164 kilograms of meat and 95 kilograms of cereals. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to generate 1 kilogram of chicken per year – far more for beef and lamb – and 13.4 square metres to generate a kilogram of cereals. So that gives him a footprint of 0.84 hectares…Meanwhile…a 4.6-litre Toyota Land Cruiser…driven a modest 10,000 kilometres a year, uses 55.1 gigajoules, which includes the energy required both to fuel and to build it. One hectare of land can produce approximately 135 gigajoules of energy per year, so the Land Cruiser’s eco-footprint is about 0.41 hectares – less than half that of a medium-sized dog.

The article leaves the reader to draw the conclusion that his or her own meat-eating is a significant contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions, a point of view detailed here.

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Written by ptullis

October 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Mr. Tullis,

    The number of people in the US who now believe that global climatic change is a hoax has increased by a number equal to the number of people who read your piece and own a dog.


    October 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm

  2. This is utterly misleading. 1) there is no carbon calculation for manufacturing and disposal of the vehicle. 2) the Land Rover is driven 10,000 kilometers per year? That’s 6,100 miles for you counting at home. That’s just about exactly half of the US average miles driven per year.

    So dog and Land Rover, no comparison. But an honest comparison wouldn’t have gotten my click. So you, sir, are simply a linkwhore.


    November 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm

  3. Ooh! Name-calling! So productive! I will mark this in my calendar–first time ever called a “linkwhore.” Whoo-hoo!
    The comparison was done by New Zealanders, who may drive considerably less than an average American.
    Manufacture and disposal of vehicles is relatively low-impact, I’ve been told, as nearly all the steel (highest-impact component) is recycled.
    Not relevant to the current discussion: It’s a Land Cruiser, not a Land Rover. Anyone who’s had to drive through a river or over a pile of four-foot diameter rocks would know the difference, because if it was a post-1988 Land Rover it’d still be stuck there.
    I don’t see the hoax-dog owners connection. I don’t think _every_ dog owner is so in denial, and perhaps some of them will limit their personal meat intake to compensate. But maybe I’m naive.

    Paul Tullis

    November 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

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