Posts Tagged carbon emissions

Low Carbon Cuisine

Posted by on Sunday, 29 August, 2010

Businesses that produce less carbon emissions than their competitors can use this as a branding advantage. Low carbon restaurants provide food without burning as much fuel to bring it to the table. One of the easiest ways to reduce carbon emissions is to serve vegetarian and vegan food since meat production produces a lot of carbon emissions.

Universities can provide low carbon food in their dining halls. The University of Redlands offered low carbon foods to students at the school. Local foods, such as orange juice produced near Redlands, are a prominent feature. Transportation is a large source of carbon emissions. This event did include some meat dishes, so diners were served tilapia and turkey as an alternative to beef and chicken.

Bon Appetit, which provides the University of Redlands with food as well as many other schools, plans to reduce its carbon footprint. Low carbon meals are also available at the Grove City College, in Pennsylvania. Seafood and pork dishes are available here, as well as vegetarian and vegan options.

Some low carbon restaurants have additional environmental certifications. Founding Farmers has achieved LEED Gold Certification. LEED certifications are available to businesses at various levels such as gold and silver, depending on how much energy the business conserves. The restaurant uses other energy saving techniques, such as recyclable menus printed with soy ink and tables and chairs made from reclaimed wood.

Restaurant utensils can also be selected to conserve carbon. The dining hall at the University of New Hampshire offers compostable cups, forks, and knives, as well as takeout containers. This school also provides reusable cups to its students, as well as offering a discount if the students use the reusable cups to get drinks at the dining hall.

The Cork Campaign

Posted by on Sunday, 15 August, 2010

Wine Bottle A cork, made from a piece of cork oak, traditionally seals wine bottles. Some winemakers are using plastic bottle stoppers or metal caps. There is a tradeoff here. Cork can grow mold and it can be difficult for some people to open the corked bottle, although this is part of the ritual of enjoying wine. A plastic stopper doesn’t have mold problems and petroleum based plastics are cheap, for now, so some winemakers use these as an alternative. A new campaign, reported by Triple Pundit, has started at 100 Percent Cork to convince winemakers to continue corking wine bottles with real cork.

Cork has many environmental advantages. Cork trees, which are a type of oak, produce shade and oxygen while removing carbon dioxide from the air. According to 100 Percent Cork, it is not necessary to chop down a cork tree to produce corks for wine bottles, the cork only uses part of the bark. The cork trees have a long lifespan, several hundred years, even when winemakers harvest their bark. It is also possible to grow the cork trees organically. Organic wines are popular so it would be nice to know that the stopper for the wine bottle is an organic product as well. Cork farmers are also backing this campaign, since they lose their jobs if winemakers switch to plastic. Many of the cork farmers live in Portugal which has been hit very hard by financial turmoil.

One of the Big 4 accounting firms, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, performed a study comparing natural cork to plastic and metal stoppers. Natural cork produces much less carbon emissions by far, with plastics producing 10 times as many emissions and metal producing as much as 24 times greater emissions. This is a complete lifestyle study so it also includes mining expenses, plastic manufacturing, and disposal costs.

Cork also receives some unfair blame for causing wine taint. Researchers at Virginia Tech have found an alternate explanation for the cause of the taint. The chemical tribromophenol, often found in wood cleaners, is used in many wineries since it prevents fires as well as kills fungi. Tribromophenol has similar chemistry to trichloroanisole, which does cause cork related taint problems in wine. Both of these compounds are halogenated benzene rings, so telling them apart without performing chemical tests may be difficult.

Protecting the cork industry helps protect wildlife habitat in Portugal and Spain. According to the Smithsonian Zoogoer, cork trees grow in a region known as the dehesa, where many animals live in a grassland which is the home of many oaks. If winemakers switch to using plastic or metal stoppers, cork farmers will not earn any money and may have to sell the dehesa land to developers. The Smithsonian states that half of the world’s cork is grown in the dehesa in Portugal, and another quarter is grown in the Spanish dehesa.

The Global Warming Debate

Posted by on Saturday, 12 June, 2010

This is necessary because of the scandal at Hadley CRU. We can’t fix this problem when much of the United States population believes that this is a made up issue. We are also taking a major chance here, since other countries will develop methods to deal with these problems. I’m not in favor of the United States having to purchase mitigation equipment from other countries, or having predictable disasters cause further damage to our economy. It’s especially a problem when younger Americans don’t seem to consider global warming a major concern, and this is happening, according to E360.

I’ve heard people say that greenhouse gases are not a problem, or that Carbon Dioxide should not be considered a greenhouse gas. Are you familiar with reports on the atmosphere of Venus? Enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and large amounts of heat will be trapped, and the temperature will skyrocket. It is possible that the warming will open up new farmland near the poles, such as in the Canadian tundra, but it will destroy farmland around the equator, producing many more refugees. Carbon particles that land on ice in the Arctic absorb heat just as the black asphalt in cities absorbs heat, as the ice changes from clear to black.

Global warming causes a lot of natural disasters, especially in California, according to the University of California.
Some of these problems are things I have written about in the past. An increase in the temperature melts ice and makes the sea levels rise. For a state like California, with large populations on the coast, this can cause disasters. In addition, higher average temperatures increase the damage that wildfires cause in California. The Securities and Exchange Commission now requires corporations to take these effects into account when estimating future profitability on their financial statements. Generally Accepted Accounting Practices require a company to list expected losses on its books when there is a high likelihood that the losses will happen.

Sometimes, the best way to argue in favor of a position is to study the opponents’ arguments, in my opinion. Here is an anti global warming argument. The paper claims that dealing with global warming is expensive. It is expensive, and the damage from not dealing with these problems is even more expensive. The author suggests conspiracy theory, which can signal a weak argument. Finally the author does suggest methods of mitigation such as cleaning carbon out of the air, which is definitely possible. Preventing a problem is often cheaper than dealing with a problem which has already happened, just look at the Gulf of Mexico as an example.