What is Carbon Footprint?

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

By E. S. Navarrete Sr.
On The Road

LIKE the great majority, I like numbers only when it is payday or Christmas. But down below are important numbers we need to know. We’ve certainly heard of global warming which, actually, is a warning to us that Mother Nature has had it with our wanton abuse and neglect. As the late, great FPJ would say: “Puno na ang Salop.”

Here's another important term related to our already fragile environment---Carbon Footprint. As we know, footprints give clues as to who we are, where we came from and where we are headed.


Now, Carbon Footprint refers to the total amount of Greenhouse gases expressed in carbon emissions (like water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, etc. The etc., by the way, includes farting, that folks, to borrow Al Gore’s famous environment documentary title, is the "Inconvenient Truth.")

It is generated by none other than us and all the activities we do. Everything from living, eating, working, playing and yes, driving.

What happens then? According to environment groups and in simple lingo, these Greenhouse gases “kidnap without ransom” the energy from the sun and prevents it from escaping back to space. It is like Robert Jaworski, wearing short-shorts, guarding an opponent in Araneta -“Walang kawala.”

The end result? Ever-increasing, mercury-busting surface temperatures as we experience it now. The funky tune by R and B singer Nelly says it best: “It’s getting hot in here.”

In the scheme of things detrimental to the environment, each Filipino emits around one metric ton of carbon dioxide based on a research done by the United Nations.

Each LPG tank we consume releases 32.5 kilograms of CO2 while each kwh of electricity we consume releases about .60 Kg of that deady carbon monoxide.

Cars? If you drive a gasoline powered variant, it spews around 2.3 kg/ liter while diesel emission is higher at 2.7kg of CO2 per liter.

Since this is a motoring column, let us look at it from that perspective. From the start of 2008, all vehicles entering the Philippine market should be Euro 2 emission compliant. This means carbon monoxide emission should be 2.2 grams per kilometer for gas engines and 1 gram for every kilometer for diesel run engines.

This the Philippines’ own humble effort to curb those noxious fumes coming from our vehicles. Thing is, even in setting environment standards, we are “kulelat”.

Euro 2 standard was in place in Europe for just four years, way back in ’96 till 2000. In my own, rusty cranial calculator, it simply means we are 13 years behind at present.

By 2016, according to the government office addressing climate change, the Philippines will be skipping Euro 3 and will be instead implementing Euro 4 compliancy where carbon dioxide emissions will be further limited to one gram per kilometer for de-gasolina and .50 gram per klick for diesel engines.

If implemented in 2016, this means we will “just” be 11 years behind Europe’s emission standards, which by next year, 2014, will be Euro 6 already.

One of the few cars I know with Euro 5 compliance currently in the Philippine market today is the newly launched Haima M3. Their other variants like the F-Star series and the Haima 2 are, on the other hand, Euro 4 compliant. Folks, take a serious look at this brand, especially the M3, and you might find the car cupid stinging your heart this early.

So the next question given all these facts would likely be: What can we do behind the wheel to lessen pollution and our carbon imprint?

Well, firstly, going gas-pedal nuts over the speed limit will do you nothing. Over speeding and over acceleration will cause you stress and a vastly depleted fuel tank.

Anticipate stops and starts and maintain a steady speed. In the US of A, up to 30 percent of consumption is due to bad driving habits.

Do not forget those dates with the mechanic for a tune up. Replace air, oil and fuel filters as scheduled.

Lessen the clutter, lessen the load. Remember, fuel efficiency, folks.

Maintain a clean vehicle. Believe it or not, dirt adds to wind drag. Why? Air particles cling on to grime thus making your engine work harder, ergo, more emission by up to 10 percent. And oh, remember that your car says a lot about you, what do you think a dirty car will reflect aside from dust?

Lastly, do not forget about those round rubbers called "tires." A properly inflated tire can save up to 700 pounds of Carbon Dioxide per year.

As they say, pollution is the forerunner of perdition and we all have our carbon footprints in the scene of the crime against Mother Nature. Let’s do our share to drive change now.

Thanks for reading, folks. See you again on the road.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 13, 2013.


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