Carbon legacy, i.e. how by YOU having kids impact the future


Much attention has been paid to the ways that people’s home energy use, travel, food choices and other
routine activities affect their emissions of carbon dioxide and, ultimately, their contributions to global
warming. However, the reproductive choices of an individual are rarely incorporated into calculations of
his personal impact on the environment. Here we estimate the extra emissions of fossil carbon dioxide
that an average individual causes when he or she chooses to have children. The summed emissions of a
person’s descendants, weighted by their relatedness to him, may far exceed the lifetime emissions
produced by the original parent. Under current conditions in the United States, for example, each child
adds about 9441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female, which is 5.7
times her lifetime emissions. A person’s reproductive choices must be considered along with his day-today
activities when assessing his ultimate impact on the global environment.

Again, my cell phone is [masked] and my email is [masked]
It is on Wednesday, not my usual Tuesdays.


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  • Patrick Morcillo

    What was really interesting was the fact that a kid has a multiplier effect (2 to 6-fold) due to the fact that the son/daughter will have a grandson/granddaughter, etc.

    November 18, 2010

  • Patrick Morcillo

    Dear Rob:
    We know way more now than when Mollison made the statements:

    Take care


    November 17, 2010

  • Rob Meyer

    I don't want to speak for everyone, but I don't really buy into the whole CO2 caused global warming thing. I realize that it is a possibility, but as Bill Mollison has said, these assumptions are based on dubious evidence, and there are far more worrisome and impending things we can be focusing our attention on learning about and remediating.

    November 17, 2010

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