Monday, September 24, 2007


You often find global warming smart alecks, like Ben Shapiro here, suggest that we should all stop breathing in order to solve the carbon dioxide problem. I've always been (extremely) skeptical, but never really ran the numbers. It turns out the idea is indeed absurd -- of all the CO2 humans emit, only about 8.1% is from respiration:
  • The US Department of Agriculture says the average human exhales about 900 grams of CO2/day.
  • There are now about 6.62 billion people on the planet, says the US Census Bureau.
  • That works out to a total of 2.2 billion MT (metric tons) of CO2 exhaled per year by the human species.
  • Humans activities emit a total of about about 27 billion MT of CO2 per year.
  • So human respiration is responsible for 8.1% of all human CO2 emissions.
Of course, that is probably dwarfed by emissions of all the other species, but still it's a bigger percentage than I thought. But stop breathing will come nowhere near to solving the problem.

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