This Christmas, like every year, Santa will be delivering presents to children around the world while leaving a huge carbon footprint behind. It is estimated that “good-ol” Saint Nick will release a whopping 35.4 billion lbs of CO2 during his 212-million-mile long round-the-world dash.
Rudolph and his gang are the main culprits of Santa’s massive “carbongeddon”. According to a study by the Norwegian University of Tromsø, a reindeer releases 0.11 lbs of methane per day with a diet rich in lichen. On Christmas Eve, however, they will be transporting a sleigh at least 320,000 tons heavy (assuming all children on Earth – naughty kids and Santa non-believers excluded – get a regular-sized Lego set, weighing about 2 lbs). Mind you, this number is not even including Santa himself, whose cookie-and-milk rich diet is sure to add a ton or two.
To complete the 212-million-mile ride in 24 hours, they will also be travelling 11,000 times faster than the speed of sound – at 8.8 million miles per hour, to be exact. Including a carrot for each reindeer in all 1.5 billion households worldwide, a reindeer’s carbon footprint increases dramatically during Kris Kringle’s not-quite-so holy night and can reach up to 171 million lbs of methane, which – being 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) – adds up to at least 3.9 billion lbs of CO2 per reindeer. So fasten your seatbelts, because all in all Santa and his reindeer will produce 167.08 lbs of CO2 per mile. All the elves agree: that’s got to secure him a seat right on top of the naughty list!
Considering that buses are the greenest mode of transportation with 0.19 lbs of CO2 per mile, Santa would be very well advised to reconsider his environmental responsibility and simply hop on a coach. Granted, delivering his presents at 70 mph would take a little longer. 364 years, to be exact, or 14.5 generations (at the accepted 25-year period per generation).
If Santa did, however, travel by bus, he would save 35.3 billion lbs of CO2. That equals the amount of CO2 sequestered by 411 million Christmas trees. Planting 411 million trees would be enough to cover 3,000 square miles (5 times the surface area of London, or 172,666 times Wembley Stadium). As if that weren’t enough, if Santa ditched Rudolph and his gang, he would compensate the CO2 emissions needed to produce 8,3 million tons of finest Costa Rican coffee – that’s way more than the CheckMyBus elves will ever be able to handle!
To calculate how much CO2 Santa would save if he travelled by bus instead of by reindeer, we multiplied the total number of miles needed for a round-the-world trip (212 million miles)* by the amount of CO2 per mile released by reindeer pulling a 320,000-ton sleigh at 8.8 million mph to obtain the amount of CO2 generated by Saint Nick’s behemoth of a trip. We then took the number of miles needed for the trip and multiplied them by the average lbs CO2 per mile of coaches (0.19) and worked out the difference between them.
The international bus search engine CheckMyBus shows real-time schedules and prices in more than 60 countries. With more than 400 bus operators and millions of weekly departures CheckMyBus gives the user access to the world’s largest virtual bus network. Find bus tickets and more information on www.checkmybus.co.uk. Download our app on iOS, Android or Windows Phone.
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