Ridiculous Comparison of Cars Versus Runners' Emissions Feeds the Climate Trolls

scientific american feeds trolls graph
I don't know what they were thinking at Scientific American when they published When Cars are Greener Than People, purportedly demonstrating that joggers put out more CO2 than a hybrid. No doubt Rush and Beck and Fox News will cover this one like a blanket; I already found this on one nutbar site: (no link love here)

The evil CO2 monster called men could be next on the hit list of "Green" obsolescence like the incandescent light bulb, aerosol spray cans, plastic bags, American drilling rights and air conditioning (CFC)! My hat is off to May 2011 Scientific American's Transportation writer Anna Kuchment for breaking this fact. Now we can stop those CO2 expelling joggers!

And I expect a lot more of this. Too bad the science is so wrong.


Image Credit Natural Resources Canada

The CO2 that humans breathe out is part of the natural carbon cycle; it was originally sequestered by plants, which are then eaten by animals, and then released again by breathing.

The plants that sequestered the CO2 in gasoline died millions of years ago, and are not part of this carbon cycle, but a straight addition to the CO2 in the atmosphere. While it is a cute analysis by the prolific Professor Minetti and his grad student Gaspare Pavei, it is totally nonsensical. I could not find the study on his website to confirm what he actually wrote or whether it is Anna Kuchment's interpretation, but this is unconscionable for such a respected magazine. One commenter put it best:

I always find myself on the same side as anti-environmentalists when journals publish such claptrap: Don't publish mistakes, or we lose credibility. The difference between fossil carbon and food carbon is the most damning to the premise of the article, which I assume is implied by the title....Each article like this sets the cause back years by confusing the public.

This reminds me of CO2: We call it life; It is a tired old argument, calling people "CO2 factories." Except they meant to confuse. What is Scientific American trying to do?

More on CO2 from People
"CO2: We Call it Life" ads: We Call it Hysterical
Pablo did a number on the subject as well with Ask Pablo: Does Driving Really Emit Less CO2 Than Cycling?