Fox Television's Emmy-winning "24" counts down its carbon footprint.
"We know that we can't solve the problem in 24 hours, but by making energy-conscious decisions on our set, we're contributing to a solution," states Keifer Sutherland, star of 24, in a Fox TV PSA addressing climate change. The producers of the hit series made a commitment to the environment a year ago, and after a delay from the writer's strike, the program reached its goal this season. But it wasn't enough to just "go green." 24 boasts it's the first-ever television show to go carbon neutral.
"This is a passion project for us at 24," says Executive Producer Howard Gordon. Inspired by the unlikely environmentalist, Fox honcho, Rupert Murdoch, who set 2010 as the corporation's carbon neutral target, the spots encourage viewers with eco-tips. Check-out the company's Global Energy Initiative, which describes 24's carbon footprint and the efforts to eliminate it. Charts and graphs illustrate the calculation of its whopping 2,179 tons of CO2 emissions and the 43 percent reduction, accomplished through a long list of behind-the-scenes green actions.
Has Fox News read the memo yet?
The eco-friendly production offices replaced incandescent lighting with SFLs and installed motion monitors in bathrooms and kitchens. Scripts, schedules and memos are digitally distributed to eliminate paper waste and, of course, there's recycling. But the bulk of 24's energy consumption comes from electricity and fuel.
Kiefer Sutherland as Agent Jack Bauer escapes a car crash and 1,239 tons of CO2. Photo: Adam Taylor/FOX
With Clear Carbon Consulting, the team evaluated the show's entire greenhouse gas emissions, including onsite generators, special effects, shipping equipment, and air travel. Then cut 940 metric tons of carbon dioxide by buying renewable energy (wind, solar and hydro) from California utilities and making changes in transportation. Hybrids and bio-diesel reduced gas usage by 1,300 gallons. Though just a part of the estimated 1,000 gallons of gas consumed by the series each week, it reached the original intention of lowering the season's carbon footprint by a single episode.
Exceeding Fox TV's expectations, the production proves it's possible to have an impact on Hollywood's supersized footprint, as addressed in a study by UCLA's Institute of the Environment, which gave the entertainment business a lousy grade in 2006: "Within metro Los Angeles, the FTI (Film Television Industry) makes a larger contribution to conventional air pollution than four of the five other sectors we studied."
It's 11 p.m., do you know where your green power is?
So how does all this fuel efficiency translate to car crashes and vehicle explosions, or what Fox calls "unavoidable emissions?" In order to achieve its zero carbon status, the remaining 1,239 tons of CO2 were offset through investments in carbon credits, verified and certified by an independent third party to meet the standards of the World Resource Institute's Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
As a New York Times article points out about the greening of 24 (brought to our attention by tipster Scott Keene), "To achieve true carbon neutrality the scripts would have to avoid shooting on location and staging chase scenes, something likely to disappoint even the greenest viewers." So, the next time Agent Jack Bauer's SUV screeches around streets after terrorists, remember it's brought to you by wind energy offsets whirling away somewhere in India.
More about the Greening of Fox:
Fox News Corporation To Go Green
Jack Bauer to Strangle Climate Change
Fox News Launches Green Website
No Green Carpet for Emmys
Orange County Goes Green on Fox's "The O.C."