Canadian Beer Drinkers Threaten Earth

Buy a new fridge, eh… American fridges should be affordable these days…

http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn12975-beer-fridges-present-a-gassy-problem.html
[i]
‘Beer fridges’ present a gassy problem

* 11:23 28 November 2007
* NewScientist.com news service
* Catherine Brahic

Getting rid of vintage “beer fridges” �?? secondary fridges which many North American and Australian homes boast �?? could have a significant impact on household greenhouse gas emissions, suggests a new study.

Beer fridges are additional fridges that are generally used to keep beer and other drinks cold on top of a household�??s primary fridge for food. One in three Canadian households has a second fridge, many of which are ageing, energy-guzzling models, according to Denise Young, a researcher at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Young suggests that getting rid of older models, in Canada at least, would have an impact on energy usage. Her study analyses industry data and the results of a national survey to look at the environmental effects of having beer fridges in Canada.

“People need to understand the impact of their lifestyles,” says Joanna Yarrow, director of Beyond Green, a sustainable development consultancy in the UK. “Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home. This research helps inform people �?? let’s hope it has an effect”.
High demands

The survey that Young analysed was commissioned by Natural Resources Canada and suggests that 30% of households have two or more refrigerators. About 20% of secondary fridges are older models that are kept after the household buys a newer model as their primary refrigerator.

Having a second fridge for cooling drinks means more demand for electricity, and this demand is even worse when the second fridge is an older model.

The Canadian Appliance Manufacturers Association estimates that typical 1985 refrigerator models use 1060 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per year, while a 1975 model uses 1580 kWh per year. In contrast, more recent and energy-efficient models can use as little as 380 kWh per year.

The survey shows that in 2003 about 65% of beer fridges were more than 10 years old. About 30% were at least twice that age.

Using the survey’s information on the distribution of beer fridges and the data on energy consumption, Young calculated that the 65% of beer fridges that are 10 years or older consume 1165.7 million kWh of energy each year �?? roughly equivalent to the annual consumption of 100,000 average US suburban homes.

By abandoning beer fridges altogether, Canada’s 11.5 million households could save 3500 million kWh each year, says Young.
Class divide

Young also found that low-income families were less likely to retire their old refrigerators to the garage to store drinks after buying a new model. She says this is probably because these households find the cost of running an additional fridge (up to $150 per year) too high.

She concludes that middle- to high-income families should be targeted by campaigns to remove old secondary refrigerators. Existing schemes encourage people to buy new more energy-efficient fridges by offering financial bonuses for each purchase �?? sometimes with a cash-back offer for handing in older fridges.

Young warns, however, that “these financial incentives may also induce a household to purchase a new unit earlier than they would have otherwise done so”, which can actually encourage people to keep a second fridge.

Instead, Young supports government-run “round-ups” offering to pick up and dispose of old refrigerators. A 2006 study commissioned by the Ontario Power Authority showed that such programmes have been successful in the past, especially when they are boosted by information on how much money and energy can be saved by getting rid of the beer fridge.

But environmental effect of beer fridges depends on the source of electricity. “In Canada, there are major regional differences,” notes Young. “In places where hydroelectric power is used, the greenhouse gas emissions are negligible. In places where coal or natural gas are used, the impacts can be substantial.”

She calculates that a 1975 fridge in British Columbia �?? where most electricity comes from hydropower �?? is responsible for a negligible increase in emissions. But the same fridge in Alberta, where electricity is primarily generated from natural gas and coal, would be responsible for 1.4 tons of greenhouse gases every year.

Journal reference: Energy Policy (DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2007.09.034)

Climate Change �?? Want to know more about global warming: the science, impacts and political debate? Visit our continually updated special report.

Energy and Fuels �?? Learn more about the looming energy crisis in our comprehensive special report.[/i]

…Ok… I lol’d.

The greenhouse gas by ton thing is driving me nuts. Someone wanna put this in perspective? How many tons TOTAL are we producing?

If it’s in the multi-millions a lot of these stories become quite funny.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
…Ok… I lol’d.

The greenhouse gas by ton thing is driving me nuts. Someone wanna put this in perspective? How many tons TOTAL are we producing?

If it’s in the multi-millions a lot of these stories become quite funny.[/quote]

The number is staggeringly high.

If CO2 is causing GW we have to stop using all energy provided by fossil fuels.

All this talk of refrigerators and higher efficiency light bulbs is happy talk.

Greenhouse gases or not, use an old fridge and you’ll find out that that’s some pretty expensive beer you are drinking.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
…Ok… I lol’d.

The greenhouse gas by ton thing is driving me nuts. Someone wanna put this in perspective? How many tons TOTAL are we producing?

If it’s in the multi-millions a lot of these stories become quite funny.

The number is staggeringly high.

If CO2 is causing GW we have to stop using all energy provided by fossil fuels.

All this talk of refrigerators and higher efficiency light bulbs is happy talk.[/quote]

I’d suspected this.

I’ve basically given up the global warming bull shit. I’m convinced there has to be better things we could be doing for the environment, like reinstating clean air and water standards the last Congress helped rip down, that have nothing to do with convincing everyone the polar bears are dieing because we won’t shut down our nations fuel supply.

I still admire Al for trying, but global warming and manbearpig are looking awfully similar these days…

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
…Ok… I lol’d.

The greenhouse gas by ton thing is driving me nuts. Someone wanna put this in perspective? How many tons TOTAL are we producing?

If it’s in the multi-millions a lot of these stories become quite funny.

The number is staggeringly high.

If CO2 is causing GW we have to stop using all energy provided by fossil fuels.

All this talk of refrigerators and higher efficiency light bulbs is happy talk.

I’d suspected this.

I’ve basically given up the global warming bull shit. I’m convinced there has to be better things we could be doing for the environment, like reinstating clean air and water standards the last Congress helped rip down, that have nothing to do with convincing everyone the polar bears are dieing because we won’t shut down our nations fuel supply.

I still admire Al for trying, but global warming and manbearpig are looking awfully similar these days…[/quote]

We need to raise our gas mileage standards. We need to progress further with out clean water standards we are making progress in the right direction but not fast enough.

Don’t buy into the stories that we have gutted our standards, we have not. Many of the policy shifts have actually helped clean the environment although they are reported the opposite.

A good example is Bush allowing the power plants to upgrade their scrubbers incrementally and reduce emissions.

Under Clinton they were required to upgrade 100% or not at all. Most chose not at all and chose to be fined for their emissions (these fines are rarely paid).

This was reported as a weakening of the regulations but it resulted in improvement in air quality.

Certainly not a perfect record though and we have to continually strive to be better.

Unfortunately CO2 has shifted the debate/discussion away from what I consider real environmental problems.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
…Ok… I lol’d.

The greenhouse gas by ton thing is driving me nuts. Someone wanna put this in perspective? How many tons TOTAL are we producing?

If it’s in the multi-millions a lot of these stories become quite funny.

The number is staggeringly high.

If CO2 is causing GW we have to stop using all energy provided by fossil fuels.

All this talk of refrigerators and higher efficiency light bulbs is happy talk.

I’d suspected this.

I’ve basically given up the global warming bull shit. I’m convinced there has to be better things we could be doing for the environment, like reinstating clean air and water standards the last Congress helped rip down, that have nothing to do with convincing everyone the polar bears are dieing because we won’t shut down our nations fuel supply.

I still admire Al for trying, but global warming and manbearpig are looking awfully similar these days…

We need to raise our gas mileage standards. We need to progress further with out clean water standards we are making progress in the right direction but not fast enough.

Don’t buy into the stories that we have gutted our standards, we have not. Many of the policy shifts have actually helped clean the environment although they are reported the opposite.

A good example is Bush allowing the power plants to upgrade their scrubbers incrementally and reduce emissions.

Under Clinton they were required to upgrade 100% or not at all. Most chose not at all and chose to be fined for their emissions (these fines are rarely paid).

This was reported as a weakening of the regulations but it resulted in improvement in air quality.

Certainly not a perfect record though and we have to continually strive to be better.

Unfortunately CO2 has shifted the debate/discussion away from what I consider real environmental problems.[/quote]

My understanding is that powerplants (particularly coal-fired plants) are far and away the biggest piece of human CO2 production (though I believe human CO2 production is less, in the aggregate, than volcano production). Also, I believe that airplane travel and ocean shipping are at least equal, if not greater than, automobile production.

Canadian beer drinking is interesting, but probably produces more CO2 from the belching…

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

My understanding is that powerplants (particularly coal-fired plants) are far and away the biggest piece of human CO2 production (though I believe human CO2 production is less, in the aggregate, than volcano production). Also, I believe that airplane travel and ocean shipping are at least equal, if not greater than, automobile production.

Canadian beer drinking is interesting, but probably produces more CO2 from the belching…[/quote]

I believe you are correct with electricity production being the # 1 human cause of CO2.

SUV’s while gas guzzlers are a drop in the bucket. Airplanes are particularly bad because the emit so high in the atmosphere.

Amazingly Indonesia is currently the # 3 emitter of CO2 due to the slash and burn deforestation.

Secondary refridgerators…? What about those deep freezers that everyone in the mid-west keep in their garages. Then there are the hunters that keep a special freezer just for their deer meat that never gets eaten.

Do not attack my beer, dude. If I have to start a special interest beer lobby I will…don’t threaten me…I’ll do it.