Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The carbon cube

The Carbon Cube is a striking reminder of how much CO2 we produce for each mile we drive.

The Cube consists of one pound of solid graphite, which represents the amount of carbon dioxide the average car emits every mile.

Carbon dioxide is an invisible gas, impossible to handle or to see. I've always thought that this was a big reason we have such a hard time dealing with greenhouse gas pollution. People who would never think of dumping five pounds of untreated sewage into a river habitually send literal tons of greenhouse gases and other airborne toxics into the atmosphere for their daily commute.

But the Cube changes that with its tangible and surprising heft. Put one on your dashboard and think of sending one more of its clones into the clouds with every click of your odometer. I'll bet you'd become a more efficient driver.

Learn more or order your own cube here.


Anonymous said...

New York is a driver's paradise.

Turboglacier said...

Of course, I agree that the driving madness has to stop. But I find this cube a bit deceptive, when it says the the pound of carbon "represents" the pound of CO2 emitted each mile of driving-- because CO2 is, by weight, only about 27% carbon (the rest being oxygen.) A one-pound cube of dry ice would be a more accurate, if less easily handled, representation.

Also, as a person interested in physiology, I must point out that just existing as a living animal is a greenhouse-gas crime. Humans at rest "exhaust" about 250ml of CO2 each minute just by breathing. Some back-of the envelope calculations show that this totals about 1.6 pounds of CO2 daily-- perhaps not quite as much as the average American emits by driving, but equivalent to 6.4 miles of automotive commuting. And this assumes that you're resting all day-- if you decide, for example, to ride your bike to work, you'll be emitting considerably more CO2 while you huff and puff!

Just playing devil's advocate... I'm riding the bike to work myself (because cars cause more problems than just CO2...)

Turboglacier said...

p.s. based on CO2 density of aprox. 2kg/cubic meter, converted to .0044lb/liter, X 0.25 liter/min... in case anyone cares to check my math.