Bad carbon accounting

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plodder
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Bad carbon accounting

Post by plodder » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:15 pm

A sorry tale of paid-for aduresearch:

https://twitter.com/NicholasDCarter/sta ... 7372309504

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Bad carbon accounting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:53 pm

It does indeed sound like a puff piece rather than a sensible carbon account. The sooner a proper carbon accounting system gets set up the better - hoping the EU make swift and significant progress, because I can't see it coming from anywhere else right now.

OTOH, that's not the best twitter thread I've seen. The first few tweets are just ad-homming the company based on an unrelated study, there is some sensible science in the second half, then he ends by promoting biodynamic agriculture. What a mess.
"Ecology without socialism is just gardening" - Chico Mendes

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Martin Y
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Re: Bad carbon accounting

Post by Martin Y » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:06 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:53 pm
… OTOH, that's not the best twitter thread I've seen. The first few tweets are just ad-homming the company based on an unrelated study, there is some sensible science in the second half, then he ends by promoting biodynamic agriculture. What a mess.
Not my field at all but I got a similar impression of much shade and little substance. I'm probably not the intended audience but he didn't manage to make a clear case to this reader.

I thought the thread was going to be about this nugget on the More Or Less podcast: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000df4w

(Premise: in terms of carbon emissions, watching 30 minutes of Netflix is equivalent to driving 4 miles. Conclusion: Nope. Bad data from out-of-date assumptions. More like 1/10 of a mile.)

The neat conclusion is that, contrary to the original claim, streaming a movie at home is less carbony than driving to the cinema. It's a surprise to me but, as one contributor says, streaming keeps getting more energy efficient so stats about power consumption go out of date really fast, but people remember these old figures and assume they're still true. My own impression had been formed by a comparison of analogue vs digital and radio vs TV and broadcasting vs streaming that showed streaming was absurdly more power hungry than anything else but I now appreciate that's years out of date.

plodder
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Re: Bad carbon accounting

Post by plodder » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:36 pm

I suppose the other thing is that it's much, much easier to make a streaming service green (renewable power for their datacentres) than it is making a cinema green (renewable power for all the cars people use to get themselves there)

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Sciolus
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Re: Bad carbon accounting

Post by Sciolus » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:54 pm

The tw.tter thread is mostly just smear. There are three substantive criticisms:
- 100-year timeframe for accounting for methane --- this is discussed as a source of uncertainty in the presentation, noting that "these are by far the most widely used GWPs", which is brief but not "no discussion".
- carbon in livestock respiration. I have no opinion on the significance of this.
- carbon absorption forgone by grazing cattle instead of allowing the land to regenerate forest. That's a stupid criticism unless he thinks the human race should die out (not an unreasonable position, admittedly).
I would hope there is a proper report underlying the presentation, but even for a 30-odd page Powerpoint there is a lot of discussion of sources of uncertainty (in both directions).

The water thing is a complete misrepresentation. If you actually bother to read the link, it's clear. The headline is "Bottled Water Shown to Have Lightest Environmental Footprint among Packaged Drinks, New Study Finds". It goes on to say:
Greenwich, Conn. (February 4, 2010) – A new study released today finds that water, in all its forms, has the least environmental impact of any beverage choice. And when compared to other packaged beverages, including soft drinks, sports drinks, enhanced waters and juices, bottled water has the lightest environmental footprint.
...
Key findings from the study include:
Water is the least environmentally impactful beverage option
Tap water has the lightest footprint, followed by tap water consumed in reusable bottles (if used more than 10 times), and then by bottled water
All entirely reasonable.

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