Thursday, December 20, 2018

Comments by a Climate Scientist About Her Carbon Footprint

Image result for airplane

Environmental & Science Education
Climate Change
Edward Hessler

One of the entries on climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe's webpage is titled, "The Biggest Part of My Carbon Footprint is Travel ."  It is a reprint of article published by DW.COM (July 3 2018) on reducing her carbon footprint, about which she is very much aware and thinks about "all-the-time."

She concludes that flying less is the best way to reduce it.  This is consistent with everything I've read. Flying is carbon costly to the planet. Here are some things considers.

--When asked to speak Hayhoe asks whether she can do it virtually. The response, including among her colleagues, is "Huh?!" (My word.)  She said she is trying to change the culture and will continue to ask.

--Hayhoe accumulates "several events to attend in any one area before" she will travel. In her planning, Hayhoe also chooses centrally located accommodations near public transit.

Image result for texas tech--"She also offsets her travel-related emissions with a certified program called Climate Stewards that invests in local economies in Kenya, Ghana and Mexico. 'They are ultra-careful in ensuring that the carbon offsets they invest in are sustained.'"

--Hayhoe drives a plug-in hybrid car, bicycles, invests in high-efficiency appliances, and uses a clothesline. In addition, their household is powered by a local co-op that includes wind energy. She is honest about her institution, Texas Tech, a university that so far has shown no interest in alternative energy use even though it has more than 250 sunny days per year, "and where wind and solar energy prices are some of the lowest in the country."

I was interested in whether Texas Tech has a campus wide environmental initiative. Texas Tech does have an Office of Sustainability. In my quick read of the web pages these seem to be the priorities: recycling, a bicycle friendly campus and energy conservation (energy use appears to be increasing which seems related to cooling needs.

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