Adjust Text Size
Media Center

Media Center

Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman - Stay Connected with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and RSS Feeds
The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming addressed our nation's energy, economic and national security challenges during the 110th and 111th Congresses.

This is an archived version of the committee's website, where the public, students and the media can continue to access and learn from our work.

Six Products, Six Carbon Footprints

The Wall Street Journal outlines the recent trend of cutting carbon emissions and looks at six common products we use and the carbon emissions that go with them.

  • The US emits the equivilant of 118 pounds of carbon dioxide per resident per year, including industrial emissions
  • That is nearly 20 metric tons pwer American and five times the number per citizen of the world at large
  • Different companies tend to calculate their products' carbon footprints differently, making it difficult for consumers to compare goods.

Six Products, Six Carbon Footprints
Wall Street Journal
October 6, 2008 

A new concept is entering the consumer lexicon: the carbon footprint.

First came organic. Then came fair trade. Now makers of everything from milk to jackets to cars are starting to tally up the carbon footprints of their products. That's the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that get coughed into the air when the goods are made, shipped and stored, and then used by consumers.

So far, these efforts raise as many questions as they answer. Different companies are counting their products' carbon footprints differently, making it all but impossible for shoppers to compare goods. And even if consumers come to understand the numbers, they might not like what they find out.

For instance, many products' global-warming impact depends less on how they're made than on how they're used. That means the easiest way to cut carbon emissions may be to buy less of a product or use it in a way that's less convenient.

So, what are the carbon footprints of some of the common products we use? How are they calculated? And what surprises do they hold? What follows is a look at six everyday items -- cars, shoes, laundry detergent, clothing, milk and beer -- and the numbers that go with them.

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.

Return to Articles »

 Print This Page