Thursday, December 09, 2010

Travel Trade-Offs for Scientists

A letter in the most recent issue of Science puts it bluntly -- scientists have a large carbon footprint. Is this bad? I don't know.... I suspect that the carbon footprints of all professionals in all fields are larger than average -- but then, so is their impact. In fact, I would expect (but cannot prove) that their impact and carbon footprint are correlated.. But how do we decide such things? Should there be a straight, proportional cost for one's carbon footprint?
Almost certainly, as individuals, scientists are responsible for an order of magnitude more greenhouse gas emissions than the average global citizen, in large part due to travel associated with our scientific interactions, presentations, and service to the scientific community....

Scientists must lead the charge against “business as usual” by demonstrating a different way of doing business. The technology is available, and it is time for us to find ways to promote scientific progress without contributing so substantially to the climate change problem we study.    
-- "Travel Trade-Offs for Scientists," Ingrid C Burke, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Science v 330, 10 Dec 2010, p 1476

PS: But it's going to be a very boring world if we all have to stay home and do everything by teleconference....

1 comment:

William M. Connolley said...

Not just planes: