Greenpeace’s Free Climate Pedometers at COP16

This is curious. Greenpeace is giving away free pedometers at COP16 in Cancun. Watch the video below. I don’t really understand the point of all this, except maybe its some sort of guilt over the limousine largess from COP15 in Copenhagen, and they want people to walk to their hotels? Even so, they apparently are unaware of this Times Online article which points out, walking apparently produces more CO2 than driving:

Walking to the shops ‘damages planet more than going by car’

Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

{Goodhall says] “The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better.”

Well, that’s inconvenient. Greenpeace says the opposite. They write on the Greenpeace More Walk Less Talk page:

COP 16 will be the seventh Conference of the Parties since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in February 2005. That’s a lot of talking.

The physical layout of these meetings means there is a great deal of walking. Walking, as we all know is very good for you – it’s credited with helping breathing, improving circulation, bolstering the immune system, and helps people stay in shape.

It is also, of course, good for the climate. But, as international climate negotiations processes show, sadly so far – not enough governments are “Walking the Talk.”

So, in Cancun – Greenpeace is hosting “More Walk, Less Talk” – a competition to find the person and the country that covers the most ground in Cancun.

Yes, the race to the future starts here. Grab your step-counter and go!

Well I’ve got no beef with the “walking improves health” message. I wonder what the winning prize is? Watch the promotional video:

And the battle continues over the issue of walking versus driving, the Pacific Institute wrote a rebuttal to the walking is worse versus driving story.

As noted by Goodall, what really stands out in this comparison is the astoundingly high GHG values for walking when the calories come from beef or dairy. The idea that moving a 2,853 pound Nissan Sentra42 plus a 189-pound driver could possibly generate fewer GHGs than if that driver simply walked the same distance underscores the staggering carbon intensity of beef and dairy production. To be fair to Goodall, this was in fact his underlying message: meat-intensive diets are energy intensive and greenhouse gas intensive.

So obviously, the message missing from the Greenpeace Pedometer message at COP16 is “walk but don’t eat meat or dairy”.

So much for those fancy Cancun dinners on whomever is funding the attendee. Bean burrito for you!

Of course the whole “walking to save the planet” idea gets negated by the simple fact that none of these people arrived by sailboat in Cancun, but used some fossil fuel gussling airplane and then maybe a train or taxi.

But at least they’ll feel better about themselves walking around hungry, right?

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76 thoughts on “Greenpeace’s Free Climate Pedometers at COP16

  1. This begs the question, “How dumb do you have to be to be a member of greenpeace?” Of course exercise produces more exhaled CO2 than talking! Who has a back of the envelope figure for carpooling to and from, versus everyone walking?

  2. While this is an interesting exercise in maths, it works on the assumption that a person will have to alter their intake of food because they walked to the store instead of driving. I think it’s pretty obvious that people don’t really do that. I don’t grab a steak on the way out the door if I’m riding to work instead of driving. The likely outcome of walking to the shops instead of driving is that they’ll lost a bit of weight and utltimately the amount of GHGs would drop by walking instead of driving.

  3. As a runner that puts in 50-70 miles a week, watch what I eat (not much meat at all) and still apparently can’t reach my ideal weight, I find the whole argument beyond absurd.

  4. The part I don’t understand is why all these stray groups were allowed to attend a UN climate conference. Security at the conference is massive and they just make it more expensive.

    Is this a climate conference or a trade show?

  5. John from CA says: “The part I don’t understand is why all these stray groups were allowed to attend a UN climate conference…Is this a climate conference or a trade show?”

    Neither. It’s a circus.

  6. It really is a Climate Comedy with all this “don’t do that” because it produces the evil nasty toxic gas & “don’t eat that” because it produces the nasty poisonous gas to make it
    and the best one “raise the price”.

    Oh.. And how much is the estimated carbon footprint to create one of those Pedometers and have them delivered?

  7. My fav video game company Paradox Interactive published a game earlier in the year called Ship Simulator Extremes, where one of the 2 campaigns is a showcase for Greenpeace propaganda. You’re supposed to go out and find “illegal” whaling ships to harass and of course ships that dump toxic waste and oil (LOL! who would dump oil on purpose). Meanwhile your rewards for this are propaganda videos from the REAL! Greenpeace captains explaining how these real life scenarios went down! Other rewards are also newspapers that flash on the screen showing your “heroic” deeds. Its too bad really, the idea of a realistic simulation for other boats seemed cool, but due to this Greenpeace Propaganda bit, im obviously not gonna buy it.

    Here is a video of it in action on youtube go to this link.

  8. “More walk” might be quite difficult, since most of the Official COP16 Hotels are from 10 to 60 km distant from the main conference activities. See here:

    http://www.cop16accommodation.com/

    Fortunately a caravan of (carbon spewing?) shuttles will be operating “24 hours per day” between all of the lux beachside hotels and the COP 16 anti-carbon dioxide conference activities.

    http://cc2010.mx/en/participants/transportforparticipants/

    I wouldn’t call these people hypocrites. Would you?

  9. One makes a mistake if they think these yahoos are primarily concerned about the environment, they’re not. Their concern is political and like most things political the profferred goal is never the real goal. Environmentalists (Not to be confused with us folk who merely strive for a nice environment) strive for a lofty utopia, where all of Earth’s creatures exist equally and harmoniously, no hunting, no fishing. Humanity and nature on an equal footing. We have ruined the pristine natural balance of the earth by our mere existence. There will never be the balance they seek, only atonement.

    They’re not saying that driving is bad and walking is good, nor the opposite. We are the problem no matter what we do.

  10. underscores the staggering carbon intensity of beef and dairy production

    Rather, it shows the staggering inefficiency of European and US methods of dairy and beef production. They survive due to subsidies and import barriers, and would die in their current form if trade was freed up.

    Cows raised in Argentina, Australia or New Zealand do not require remotely the same energy per kg produced. The meat is better tasting too. I bet African raised cows have an even lower carbon footprint.

    Cows should not be raised indoors, and there are plenty of parts of the world where they can be raised with room to move all year round.

    But that means defeating producer groups with political clout, and ignoring the greenies pleas to only eat local.

  11. Mikeysan,

    To paraphrase Frankie Goes to Hollywood… Are we living in a land, where GHG’S and horror are the new Gods, yeah ?

  12. Hmm, I wonder how the making of the pedometer undoes any supposed saving due to walking?

    The most interesting bit of the video though was the background – all those white bland ‘bare’ stands – I hope the video was shot during the set up day or thats the worlds most boring trade show. At least Greenpeace managed to bag a corner stand, great for handing out leaflets and pedometers…

  13. P’raps if the delegates engaged in “assisted walking” to the conference halls? Rope them to the bumpers of the shuttle buses and they can jog along behind!

  14. “Walking to the shops ‘damages planet more than going by car’”
    Since when is co2 harmfull to the planet? The headline is beyond stupid.

  15. More walk and less talk sounds fine with me. Does that mean they’re going to stop talking at Con-con and go home?

  16. I’m feeling so nostalgic reminiscing about the climategate email leak that happened about a year ago today.

    This week I get another document leak I can revel in. OK, I admit, I’m a rebel and enjoy these kinds of things for some reason. The thing I’m having trouble with is what to call it. Do we call it Cablegate or Wikigate?

  17. @Michael

    In reference to what to call Wiki Leaks: I don’t know. A clear and present danger, perhaps (with the ramifications that go along with that)?

    But, I know what to call the leakers: Traitors.

  18. John from CA says:
    Is this a climate conference or a trade show?

    Its the World Climatechange Jamboree :)

    @Christopher – November 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Dumping oil and toxic waste, you have no idea what is being dumped in the North Sea, a lot of captains rather run the (small) risk of being spotted while cleaning out their ballast tanks for example than to pay up and get rid of it through a specialised company during their stay in the harbour.

    BTW: by the looks of the video (wich starts in Hoek of Holland harbour by the looks of it) they made it easy, the (ore/oil) tanker is already dumping while still in the “Nieuwe Waterweg” canal, and that is highly unusal or downright stupid in real life. We must not forget that this is still a (ship) simulation, its not the real world :)

    BTW(2): My 72 year old dad who retired 11 years ago loves this game, but then he sailed the seven seas for most of his life, first with the Dutch Navy, then on coastal shipping to the Baltic and Scandinavia, radio-piracy and his last 30 years for Smit Salvage.

  19. mike g says: wrote
    November 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm
    @Michael

    “In reference to what to call Wiki Leaks: I don’t know. A clear and present danger, perhaps (with the ramifications that go along with that)?

    But, I know what to call the leakers: Traitors.”

    As one who is a judge of the entire planet, I don’t see how sho[o]ting the messenger accomplishes anything.

  20. It’s a good bet that the pedometers were made in China – in factories powered by – COAL! And that they were shipped to Cancun by sea and air using PETROLEUM-fueled ships and planes!! Way to go Greenpeace!!! [LOL]

  21. Breaking news. Perhaps JOSH can make a cartoon.

    The ECOnomist magazine has devoted an issue to Climate Change with a stress that it WILL happen.

    Now I know why it is called the ECOnomist (stress on ECO) – it is honor of their editorial philosophy, which is decided by ECO-loons and ECO-tards.

    There is even a picture of one of these loons on the cover of the latest edition:

  22. I should probably also point out that the tradeoff here is not due to One necessarily having additional meet in their diet to get energy to move forward and walk to that store.

    You can take about a gallon of fuel in your car and EASILY travel 40 miles in LESS then one hour. If you attempt to walk those same 40 miles, that likely will take two days. You now have to include the co2 output of about 5 meals of food. You also now have to include heating fuel used for 1 or 2 nights of heating for your lodging if you walk that distance.

    And you also have to include the energy used to cook and process those 5 meals. So both heating co2 and the co2 cost of those 4 or 5 meals needed to travel those 40 miles MUST be included in this co2 trip cost.

    Compare the above to hardly one gallon of fuel and LESS then one hour of travel time (the fact that you are at rest means less co2, but LESS then 1 hour is the key concept here). At the end of the day, it’s amazingly how efficient 1 gallon of fuel can be to move the 40 miles in less than 1 hour. And, if you have a passenger, then you done 80 people miles here without the fuel consumting being changed noticable.

    And this discussion really does not matter if you break the above into 4 trips of 10 miles each. Machines are far better at converting energy into motion than a human beings walking. So what’s important here, is it’s just not the fact that you have meat in your diet, but in fact one needs to add up ALL OF the multiple meals that have to be cooked and processed for you to travel the 40 miles. And as noted, there might be loding involed to walk that 40 miles.

    Some people have pointed out that people don’t decide out of the blue to eat more meat so they can achieve their goal of transporting themselves to the market to buy food. In fact, that is moot point since likely your food consumption will not change a whole lot bit by walking to the market then that of driving. In fact eating food and exercising might even reduce your food intake as compared to sitting on the couch.

    I daresay when you include all of the consumption of energy and food to walk the 40 miles, the car becomes far more efficient in terms of co2 output to achieve that 40 mile trip .

    The fact of the matter is that transporting by vehicle is much more efficient than a human by walking and this produces far less C02 if you include the above.

    In other words once again the advice being given to walk to the store vs. driving to the store is the wrong advice but it is certainly the political correct message to give.

    Albert K

    [Reality check. Small towns (those created in the 3000 years before cars were invented) are always about 30 miles apart (town-center to town center). This is a ten-hour day at 3 miles per hour, no stops for meals or watering the horses/people. Your pace may vary. Robt]

  23. AK;
    No, actually only the EXTRA food consumed because of the exertion counts. You’d have eaten those 5 meals anyway, perhaps with fewer calories in them.

    But it probably still works. Even bicycling takes extra calories, and it’s very efficient. Road racers can consume up to 6000 Calories/day, to give an extreme example.

  24. Those things are so cheap now they sometimes arrive in cereal packets. I have two in a draw in the kitchen.

  25. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes.

    Actually, by eating and exercising and breathing and farting, human beings (like animals) are only *recycling* carbon (as well as other elements) that has been ingested via food. The CO2 that we (and all animals) breathe out goes back into the atmosphere to be re-absorbed by plants, which in turn are eaten by animals and humans – and the cycle goes on. So next time some Green idiot tells you that you should feel guilty for simply existing, or that domestic cows and sheep are adding CO2 to the atmosphere just by standing in fields doing their thing, you can tell him why that is just bullshit.

    Greenpeace: “[Walking] is also, of course, good for the climate.”

    That doesn’t even make sense – but I’m guessing the illiterate who wrote that meant to say “good for the environment.” But then again, since these utterly mad F-wits believe that the climate is ideally a stable thing to be maintained and nurtured, they probably really did mean to say that. Either way – it’s typical of the outpourings of Green simpletons.

    Meanwhile here in the city of Sheffield (in the county of Yorkshire, England) the snow is coming down thick and fast, as it has been doing on-and-off for the last several days. Not climate (just weather) – but winters here have been getting progressively colder and more snowy year after year for the last few years. And this year we have seen the kind of snowfall in November that is usually reserved for January. This is starting to look like a trend. And given the travesty that there has been no warming for 10+ years, I wonder how many Green scientists are now wishing they’d stayed backing the Global Cooling horse all those years ago.

    [But will you enjoy your (environmental) walk in the snow this evening? 8<) Robt]

  26. I see this differnt.

    To travel that 40 miles I WILL NOT have eaten those 5 meals. The fact that I will consume those meals and do something else for the next two days is MY choice. You have to include the cost of co2 for that travel of 40 miles. I might use the other two days to walk for 10 other trips or spend time helping the poor with that food energy in my body (so that cost is applied to other tasks).

    It is my choice what I do with the two days of time and co2 energy I saved by driving in place of walking. You must add up the total cost and co2 used to travel the 40 miles and there is NO other way to do this.

    The fact that you plan to consume that food + energy in the future is a moot point. The fact that you plan to do some walking tomorrow does NOT count in that cost of traveling 40 miles today. That would be like saying that it don’t matter to go to the store two times in the future in place of going once now because I going to go to the store again in the future anyway?

    This is basic math and accounting of costs to achieve a GIVEN GOAL. You simply must add up the total co2 used to travel the 40 miles. You have to apply the costs to the ONE TASK. You don’t out of the blue toss in other events and tasks that are NOT related to this task such as me reading WUWT here.

    At the end of the day, you can choose to travel the 40 miles by walking or driving. There is no other way to compare and compute the cost difference between the two co2 footprints of this ONE task.

  27. @John from CA (5:55pm): “The part I don’t understand is why all these stray groups were allowed to attend a UN climate conference. ”

    Including the stray groups in the process was a major focus of the man who started the UN climate scare – Maurice Strong (he was the first Executive Director (1971-1975) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)). He wanted the NGOs included because sovereign countries were not cooperating in giving away power to the UN.

    Strong stated: “It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle-class … involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and ‘convenience’ foods, ownership of motor-, numerous electric household appliances, home and workplace air-conditioning … expansive suburban housing … are not sustainable.” and “United States is committing environmental aggression against the rest of the world”

    See the United Nations section in: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_History.htm

  28. Hold on, aren’t those pedometers made out of plastic? And isn’t plastic made out of Gaia killing oil?

    face/palm

  29. David, UK says:
    November 30, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    “Actually, by eating and exercising and breathing and farting, human beings (like animals) are only *recycling* carbon (as well as other elements) that has been ingested via food.”

    Halleluja David. At last some sense in the “cattle PRODUCE carbon meme.
    I have few cattle on my property, those boys DON’T CREATE carbon out of thin air (so to speak). They just recycle what’s in their food, i.e. nett nil result.

    But here in Oz (and NZ I believe) they’re trying to tax farmers for their cattle. Our CSIRO is even doing research with plumbing attached to cow and sheep butts.

    Millions are being wasted on a non-problem, carbon in = carbon out, unless they can somehow show ovines and bovines create carbon in their system somehow.

  30. Further than far out.

    Bio fuels are thought better than fossil fuels as they don’t change the “carbon balance” so why doesn’t that apply to all ingesting and exhausting living creatures? How does any living creature add carbon by the process of living. This is just bizarre.

    The lunatics are beyond belief .

  31. Bio fuels would be recycling atmospheric/plant carbon if that was the only input vs. fossil fuels. (Fossil fuels are considered by green to have been ‘out of circulation’ because they were buried in wells or mines till we pumped or dug them up.) But biofuels require investment of energy for cultivation, fertilization, harvesting and processing, and it’s now been calculated that those inputs (which come from fossil fuel sources) exceed the energy ultimately reaped/obtained from the biofuels, by double (give or take). To make it clearer, if biofuel were used for the energy input to cultivate and process the biofuel, it would take about 2 gallons to produce 1 gallon. A true loser’s proposition.

    The key to the value of fossil fuels is that so much of the energy input has been done for us, in the deep past, and we are now draining/exploiting that.

  32. They say ” Conference of the Parties” don’t they mean conference and parties.
    Also if Greenpeace had everyone walking at Copenhagen they would have had many deaths and cases of frost bite.
    James.

  33. I remember reading that a cyclist emits the equivalent of about 50g of CO2 per km, which is much higher than someone just sitting. So 2-3 people sitting in a car emit less CO2 per km than if they were cycling. That doesn’t get much press.

    Now we have someone saying that walking emits more CO2 per km than driving! It just shows how the automotive industry is achieving great things improving engine efficiency. They don’t get much credit for what they’re doing.

    As I’ve said before, if governments are serious about reducing CO2 emissions they should ban all sporting events because they generate excess CO2 merely for entertainment. As a dedicated greenie, David Cameron should yesterday have been lobbying FIFA to cancel the football World Cup, not to hold it in UK!

  34. Ah this is all part of a dastardly plan to thoroughly confuse the well minded who try and keep everyone happy. Why oh why, so I get the distinct impression that we are all Lab Rats in some post normal science laboratory of the abnormal.!!

    Reminds me of the parable of the man and the donkey trying to please everyone and in the end pleasing no one!

  35. Greenpeace, “Savoiurs of the Planet.” Don’t make me laugh – they are proposing acts of pure piracy and terrorism. Why are they allowed to continue in operation? These vessels and their crews should be arrested, charged and locked away.

  36. To back up Mooloo’s point; a year or so ago, Canterbury University, NZ, carried out an in-depth investigation into the ‘evil airmiles’ nonsense so beloved of English ecomentalists and discovered that sheepmeats, beef and dairy products produced by unsubsidised NZ and Aussie grassland farmers, who have their livestock outdoors all year round, is vastly superior in cost effectiveness regarding ‘airmiles’ than meat and dairy produced in the UK. Not to mention the totally enormous subsidies the EU vintners get to take off the long-suffering UK taxpayer through the Brit payments to the EU, while antipodean wines arrive in the UK without even a suspicion of subsidy. As a (temporary) resident in the UK, I have researched said huge subsidies to farming and farmers paid from the UK Revenue, which are a national disgrace. If the Brit taxpayer realised that they are being shafted on a truly massive scale by their own government on one hand and those that pose as their environentally-aware ‘friends’, there would be revolution in the land. On second thoughts, maybe not; but the Brits would defintely demand a cup of tea and a scone, though.
    I get the distinct impression from Greenpeace that they would be happy if those of us who are not believers in their mad Marxist fantasy would just lie down quietly, take minimal sustenance through a straw and take shallow breaths until we slide into death.

  37. UK Sceptic says:
    November 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm
    “Hold on, aren’t those pedometers made out of plastic? And isn’t plastic made out of Gaia killing oil?

    face/palm”

    Not only that, but they’re made in China’s coal-fueled plants and they don’t work worth a darn anyhow. Total waste.

    double facepalm

  38. “he climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes.”

    Sounds like most of Britain under Labour – now they’re being asked to work and pay for their own education, the couch potatoes are angry

  39. Peter Ward says:
    December 1, 2010 at 12:18 am
    I remember reading that a cyclist emits the equivalent of about 50g of CO2 per km, which is much higher than someone just sitting. So 2-3 people sitting in a car emit less CO2 per km than if they were cycling. That doesn’t get much press.

    Now we have someone saying that walking emits more CO2 per km than driving! It just shows how the automotive industry is achieving great things improving engine efficiency. They don’t get much credit for what they’re doing.

    As I’ve said before, if governments are serious about reducing CO2 emissions they should ban all sporting events because they generate excess CO2 merely for entertainment. As a dedicated greenie, David Cameron should yesterday have been lobbying FIFA to cancel the football World Cup, not to hold it in UK!

    ————————–

    Breathing emits carbon that has already been taken out of the atmosphere by plants so effectively doesn’t contribute to CO2 build up in the atmosphere. By performing cellular respiration, we are simply returning to the air the same carbon that was there to begin with.

    The difference is CO2 from fossil fuels is that they are buried outside the carbon cycle many millions of years ago, so by releasing them as you use your car increases the CO2 in the atmosphere.

    The only way I can see that you could argue that walking causes more CO2 than driving is by taking into account the fossil fuels that are burnt to transport and make the food you eat.

  40. Re Steeptown says: November 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Now I’m really confused. I’d better go and lie down.

    That’s the spirit. Greens do not encourage critical thinking because thinking increases brain activity, which generates heat, which leads to global warming. Some climate scientists have recognised this contribution to the world’s problem and have given up critical thought, leaving it instead to their computers who’s heat can be captured and recycled. Plans to tax scientists for generating excess heat are in hand, as are gym and jogger taxes. Exercise fans often test their lung capacities as a measure of fitness, or excess pollution as it will soon be known and can be taxed in accordance with the results. Next generation pedometers will contain GPS and linked to other biometric sensors in hats and facemasks to automatically debit individual carbon accounts based on performance, or alert green police squads to dangerous polluters.

  41. They know the only reason they’re there is to wrangle about money, with the climate being used as the stick with which to beat the developed countries. The Tuvalus have to play the part of the victims, and wail about how “climate change” will affect them disproportionally, and that it’s mostly the Wests’ fault anyway, so they need to both pay up, and “de-carbonize” their economies. Meanwhile, the developing countries, like China have to “explain” why they have to continue to forge ahead at full-steam without any of the constraints, because the West has already done that and they should be allowed to do the same. The developed countries’ job is to minimize their accountability, and how much they owe the rest of the world, and point out that if the world is to have any success reducing carbon, everyone, particularly China has to be on board. Thus, the circus atmosphere, and the little, mindless diversions like “fossil awards” ceremonies, and step-counting.
    It is all quite amusing, actually.

  42. Let’s all go back to nature. 6 billion people burning wood fires, eating inefficiently produced crops, prone to any and every disease. Natural child birth (remember how many women used to die during this procedure?). Get rid of all pesticides and we can understand the relevance of plagues in ancient times. Go back to sailing vessels and horse drawn carts – yeah I can imagine the mess in any any modern city. Oh, I forgot that we’re supposed to reduce the population to a sustainable level. Should be easy; everyone will be fighting for food, water and shelter. I’d get a bicycle, but I’d be ashamed of the of the amount of CO2 released in the manufacture of the body and tires.

    Just once, I’d like to see all the green movie stars, media moguls and politicians live the actual life they are proposing for a year. No cars, no jets, no trains, no internet, no electronic media, no heat, no air conditioning, no new clothing every week, no shelter except what you can build yourself by hand, only natural medicines. Unless you’re homeless, your no even close. Industry eliminated slavery; slavery to other men and the whims of mother nature.

    Ah forget it; just watch the Rain Forest episode of South Park.

  43. This is hilarious. This has to be a prank on the environmentalists.

    Of course, there is a solution to this though, Rickshaws. A normal citizen running the almighty important people around town uses less carbon that both of them walking.

  44. Mikeysan>

    “While this is an interesting exercise in maths, it works on the assumption that a person will have to alter their intake of food because they walked to the store instead of driving. I think it’s pretty obvious that people don’t really do that. ”

    Totally disagree with you. Whilst there are some people who routinely eat too much, I think it’s pretty obvious that you get hungrier when you’ve done more physical work. I know I do. Days when I work from home, sitting at my desk, I tend to eat one whole meal less than days when I walk a few miles on the way to/from work and spend the whole day moving around.

  45. Walking 1 mile burns less than 100 calories more than sitting on your butt doing nothing.

    Driving a mile in a vehicle which gets 31 miles per gallon burns 1,000,000 calories.

    It takes an average of 10 calories in energy input to produce each calorie of food on your table.

    Those are the facts.

    Walking is about a thousand times more energy efficient than driving.

    Who ARE these people making these ridiculous claims that walking is actually less energy efficient than driving? It takes a real dumbass to say it or believe it.

  46. Dave Springer says:
    December 1, 2010 at 8:07 am
    Those are the facts.

    Walking is about a thousand times more energy efficient than driving.

    Who ARE these people making these ridiculous claims that walking is actually less energy efficient than driving?

    —…—…

    ??? And turning off every power plant in the US is more energy efficient than burning coal. And cutting off every natural gas pipeline going across the Appalachians to the east coast cities is more energy efficient than wasting that fuel in a boiler.

    So what?

    If I work just 15 miles away, I need to spend six hours a day just walking to and from home. one quarter of my life spent walking – nothing gained, nothing produced, nothing earned – I need to walk 1/4 of every day before I get anything done. If the grocery store is “only” 1 mile away, I need to spend 40 minutes getting food. And, if I do, I can only carry two bags back. Tomorrow? Another 40 minutes wasted walking to get food. But that loss is of no concern to an enviro activist. We use cars because every person driving anywhere at any time in any place has made a specific and deliberate decision: Every person has decided that he values his or her productivity and time more than the pennies saved by walking/crawling/swimming/flying out the window.

    Likewise, every person jogging on an expensive plastic-lined artificial running surface in plastic-lined jogging gear wearing plastic-lined shoes and plastic-lined artificial socks has made a specific and deliberate economically-driven decision that his or her exercise is more valuable than any other investment of time, pain, energy, and effort. Me? At 6 foot tall, 150 pounds weight and 110 blood pressure and a heart rate of 76 and a cholesterol level of 140 – I consider running a painful waste of everything I value, so I refuse to “exercise” at all in any way at any time. To me, jogging is a stupid waste of everything “I” value.

    Should I prevent everybody from wasting their time running or biking or hiking around the neighborhood in their expensive clothes and fancy outfits and exotic shoes? Surely that would be more “efficient” energy-wise. More “efficient” use of the earth’s resources of food, energy, clothes, shelter, fiber. It would make “me” feel better about the poor in Africa who have no shoes at all. No food at all – so they can’t get fat and need exercise!

    Today’s enviro’s value their “religion” of a supposed “pure earth”more than any (other people’s) lives, health, or gain. Productivity, efficiency, improvement and economic gain IS their avowed enemy. Regardless of logic and regardless of

  47. racookpe1978 says December 1, 2010 at 8:49 am: “Today’s enviro’s value their “religion” of a supposed “pure earth”more than any (other people’s) lives, health, or gain.”

    I find it completely bizarre and actually verging on the culturally insane that we are compelled to explain to enviro-loons why motorized transportation is valued by humanity worldwide over walking, or riding on the back or a camel or an elephant for that matter.

    It is just about as Twilight Zone weird as when I was forced to explain to a 20-something U.S. Congressional aide why people in America’s vast heartland might often find it difficult if not impossible to “ride a bike” or “take the Metro” to work every day, and hence why punitive gasoline taxes might be detrimental to that spectrum of America that does not live in an urban metropolis such as Washington DC.

    No surprise though. She did not get it.

  48. Roger Knights says:
    December 1, 2010 at 8:07 am

    It helps if one is a Martian.
    Don’t be silly. Martians are notoriously humorless. Ack-Ack!

    We can laugh, because they have already lost the war, yet they idiotically soldier on.

  49. @racooke

    Hey look, I didn’t ask anyone to walk instead of drive, okay?

    My bullsh!t alarm rang when I read the driving energy efficiency claim. It took about 3 minutes to look up the facts from reliable sources (USDA for energy to produce food, engineering data for calories in a gallon of gas, and some exercise website for calories burned walking vs. sitting at rest.

    I don’t care whether knowing the facts makes you alter your habits or not. It’s not a factor in my walk/drive decision matrix so it would be hypocritical of me to suggest it should be a factor in yours.

  50. @racooke

    “Should I prevent everybody from wasting their time running or biking or hiking around the neighborhood in their expensive clothes and fancy outfits and exotic shoes? Surely that would be more “efficient” energy-wise.”

    You probably have no right whatsoever to stop anyone so that’s a pointless question. You have every right to give advice and otherwise express your opinion to them. If someone starts telling me why they’re into jogging I come back and say I prefer to combine exercise with constructive activity. But that’s just me. To each his own. It’s (ostensibly) a free country.

  51. Those free pedometers are very handy! Provided you have a watch or calculator that needs the same size battery. Best to get that battery out of the pedometer as soon as you get it, the cheap ones have no off switch and the battery has likely been draining since it was assembled in China.

    Ah! In the one drawer I have an unopened McDonald’s Stepometer™ that was included in their Go Active!™ Adult Happy Meals in 2004. Which is now opened. It’s dead. The battery is a LR1130, both the circuit board note and the small instruction sheet says it takes an AG10 (alternate designation). Stamped on the battery case, it says “0.% Hg” therefore it must be good for the environment. Oh look, Amazon has them for about $3 for 10. Too bad the instructions are messed up, ‘unscrew and remove contact plate, slide battery to side’ when it’s ‘pivot arm to side, pop out battery.’ How many have such a small Phillips screwdriver, and would go to the trouble of following those directions instead of throwing it away?

    Gee, you’d think in this day and age that a group like Greenpeace would’ve sprung for a model charged by a small solar cell, or that is self-charging when used!

    It’s nice that they’re giving them away, pedometers can accomplish small miracles. As the wisdom of Wikipedia puts it:

    Pedometers have been shown in clinical studies to increase physical activity, and reduce blood pressure levels and Body Mass Index.

    I’ve had two of those units since 2004. Yep, those benefits should be kicking in any time now…

  52. Brian H says:
    November 30, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    “The key to the value of fossil fuels is that so much of the energy input has been done for us, in the deep past, and we are now draining/exploiting that.”

    Comparing energy required to energy acquired is pretty much the definition of “economically recoverable” and applies to all energy sources. Some fossil fuel sources are running pretty tight (like tar sands) where the energy required is 90% of the energy acquired. For light sweet crude in shallow easily accessable wells it’s about the reverse of that. Naturally as long as there’s more energy coming out than going in there’s a profit to be made.

    Ethanol from corn was more of an experiment and just something to get the ball rolling. Grains are way too valuable to use for feedstock to make liquid fuels. Fuel oil from algae cultivated in salt water is a whole different story. It all a matter of either finding/breeding the right species and/or genetically engineering one. I’d bet on genetic engineering.

    If liquid biofuel production got just more than 10% beyond break-even it would be better than tar sand (for instance). The cool thing about biofuel is there is vast room for improvement in the feedstock and refinement cost whereas with fossil fuel there’s nothing really on the horizon that offers any similar room for cost improvement. Small improvements are made such as horizontal drilling and incremental efficiency gains in refinement but nothing that could be an order of magnitude or more improvement.

  53. From Dave Springer on December 1, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Walking 1 mile burns less than 100 calories more than sitting on your butt doing nothing.

    Driving a mile in a vehicle which gets 31 miles per gallon burns 1,000,000 calories.

    It takes an average of 10 calories in energy input to produce each calorie of food on your table.

    Those are the facts.

    Walking is about a thousand times more energy efficient than driving.

    You are experiencing a frequent confusion. As mentioned here (Discovery Health), a “calorie” on a food label is actually a kilocalorie, 1000 calories. Doing that does wonders to save space on labels. Perform a reality check for confirmation: “Specifically, a calorie is the amount of energy, or heat, it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). ” How many kilograms of mostly-water mass to an average human body, that must be continually heated to around 100°F? A million calories a day, or 1000 food label calories, to keep a person alive seems perfectly reasonable.

    So each calorie of food on your table is actually 1000 calories.

    By your numbers, that’s less than 100,000 calories burned to walk one mile. At ten calories of energy input for one calorie of food, provided both numbers use the same calories (food label or actual), that’s less than 1,000,000 calories of energy input to walk one mile. From here and elsewhere, 100 food label calories per mile, for a 180 pound person, is a good rule of thumb. Thus that would be around a million calories invested per mile walked.

    Thus while you had thought you had shown walking is a thousand times more efficient than driving, you really indicated it was about the same. Also the car can carry in one trip what it’d take the person three or more trips to carry on foot. It doesn’t take much to see how driving could use less energy than walking.

    BTW, do you have a source for that “10 calories in = 1 calorie of food” tidbit? I Googled this Harper’s Magazine article from 2004 that had it, “The oil we eat: Following the food chain back to Iraq“:

    There is another energy matter to consider here, though. The grinding, milling, wetting, drying, and baking of a breakfast cereal requires about four calories of energy for every calorie of food energy it produces. A two-pound bag of breakfast cereal burns the energy of a half-gallon of gasoline in its making. All together the food-processing industry in the United States uses about ten calories of fossil-fuel energy for every calorie of food energy it produces.

    Examining a half-pound box of generic “Honey Nut Toasted Oats Cereal,” it says there are about 8 servings at 120 food label calories each, so for four times as much (two pounds) that’s 8x4x120,000 ~ 3,840,000 calories. As mentioned back at my first link, agreeing with your figures, a gallon of gasoline has about 31,000,000 calories, thus for a half-gallon that’s 15,500,000 calories.

    Thus going by the article, 15,500,000/3,840,000 yields only around 4 calories energy input for each calorie of that cereal. If it’s that low for such a highly-processed (and frequently derided for being such) food, I wonder what foods are so extremely energy-intensive they jerk the average ratio to 10:1.

  54. Just out of morbid curiousity, how did the delagates get to Cancun in the first place? Swim?

    I assume that the jets that transported these social engineers were powered by GE electric engines?

    If this really were about a sincere scientific concern rather that a purely political agenda, why would they not web, satellite, or video conference?

  55. re: Dave says: December 1, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Mikeysan [wrote]>

    “While this is an interesting exercise in maths, it works on the assumption that a person will have to alter their intake of food because they walked to the store instead of driving. I think it’s pretty obvious that people don’t really do that. ”

    Totally disagree with you. Whilst there are some people who routinely eat too much, I think it’s pretty obvious that you get hungrier when you’ve done more physical work. I know I do. Days when I work from home, sitting at my desk, I tend to eat one whole meal less than days when I walk a few miles on the way to/from work and spend the whole day moving around.

    To expand on Dave’s reply to Mikeysan, which I think will make the point even more obvious… look at the issue on a long term basis rather than a very short term one. If someone walks to the store, they may not change their food intake at all on a one off or even short term basis.

    On the other hand, if one considers the increased caloric expenditure over longer time frames, say, a year, it becomes very obvious that one would absolutely be forced to increase food intake. Otherwise, at some point the individual would literally starve.

    The most simplified version would be to assume a healthy normal weight individual who’s neither gaining or losing weight. Add enough exercise to use 250 calories/day, no food increase, and that person loses roughly 26 pounds in a year. It doesn’t take long to starve to death at that rate.

    Granted, how long to starvation in the real world, adding the unreal world parameters of set constant additional calories/day without any change in food intake, would all depend on the individual and what their weight was when they started, how efficient their metabolism, and if at the starting point they were already either a steady weight, losing weight, or gaining weight. Only some of the folks who were steadily gaining weight at the beginning of our thought exercise and were already quite overweight might avoid starvation if they failed to increase intake when they increased their activity over the long haul.

    Obviously all of this is on a real world sliding scale (no pun intended!). Even many overweight and gaining would eventually starve if their activity level is increased enough for a long enough time period without concomitant food intake increases – although with small enough activity increase, high enough beginning weight, perhaps some would live out their lifespan before starvation would get ‘em.

    Point is, its pretty obvious that with increased energy expenditure, food intake must increase eventually or you get really negative consequences!

  56. @michael

    There is something called the rule of law which applies to the leaker(s).

    As for Julian Ass., dictators all over the world are rounding people named on wikileaks and disappearing them at this very moment.

  57. Don’t they know that excessive walking can lead to the early destruction of shoe soles.

    Well they are in the right place; they should be able to make some new sandals out of some old truck tires that got their tread shredded on some Mexican country road. But don’t bother hunting for materials on the Baja highway, because there are desert rats, that grab anything before the noise from the crash or other disaster, has echoed around the mountains.

  58. This reminds me of a local TV station in the Twin Cities that for a couple of years boasted about its “people powered” broadcasts from the annual State Fair. They had an elaborate array of stationary cycles linked to batteries so that Fair visitors could hop on, pedal for a bit and create a picture of utopian green harmony. I did the math and assumed the riders used simple carbohydrate as fuel (not meat based) and showed that more GHG was released by cycling than by running a diesel generator. It was harder to estimate the comparison with coal fired plants making electricity for the grid. The price per Kwh was much higher for the people powered electricity than either a diesel generator or the standard charge from the regional energy company. I sent my results to the TV producer and got a (predictably) tepid response. Interestingly, the station this year did not have the people power exhibit at the State Fair. I’m sure it was very expensive and the government was not subsidizing it the way it does for solar and wind power in the country at large.

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