You’d better watch out! Santa and his methane-emitting reindeer are coming to town and are about to leave a carbon footprint of apocalyptic proportions!
Our only wish this Christmas is for Santa to ditch Rudolph and his gang and save the world from an environmental catastrophe.
We mean to exert no pressure on good ol’ Saint Nick but it is estimated that Santa’s 212m-mile round-the-world dash releases 35.4 billion lbs CO2.
Reindeer the main culprits
Ditch the reindeer, Kringle! Travel by bus!
To complete the 212-million-mile trip in 24 hours, Santa’s reindeer will have to travel at 8.8 million miles per hour (11,000x faster than the speed of sound) while pulling a 320,000 tons-heavy sleigh (assuming all children on Earth -naughty kids & Santa non-believers excluded- get a regular-sized Lego set, weighing about 2 lbs). We would have to add a ton or two if we considered Saint Nick’s diet is rich on cookies and milk.
Reindeer themselves emit around 0.11 lbs of methane per day on a lichen-rich diet. However, putting the extra effort on Christmas day will surely take its toll on Rudolf and his gang’s digestive system and might shoot the seemingly mild CH4 output through the roof. Plus: did we mention each reindeer will be getting one carrot per household? Exactly…
It is estimated that a reindeer’s methane emissions on Christmas Eve can reach up to 171 million lbs of methane but, with methane being 23 times more potent than CO2, this number can grow to a whopping 3.9 billion lbs of CO2 per reindeer. All in all, Santa and his gang will end up releasing 167.08 lbs of CO2 per mile.
What if Santa delivered his presents by bus?
We might be a tiny little bit biased on this one but if Santa really wanted to go green on Christmas Eve, he’d be well advised to use the greenest mode of transportation available: buses.
True, it might take a little longer for Santa to deliver his presents to kids from one to ninety-two: 364 years, to be exact, or 14.5 generations (at the accepted 25-year period per generation).
However, if Santa did indeed travel by bus he would be saving us all from environmental Armageddon.
Buses emit a mere 0.19 lbs CO2 per mile meaning that Santa would save basically all of his carbon footprint if he traveled by bus; 35.3 billion lbs CO2, to be exact.
35.3 billion lbs of CO2 is the same CO2 sequestered by 411 million Christmas trees.
Planting 411 million trees would be enough to cover New York City 6 times over (1.9 million acres of surface, or 3,000 square miles).
As if that weren’t enough, if Santa ditched Rudolph and his gang, he would save the CO2 emissions produced by 1.8 million Coca Cola trucks; with 51,200 cans per truck, it would amount to a total 94 billion cans* of the fizzy beverage.
Want to have more details on Santa’s carbon dash and what it means to the planet? Then check out the snazzy infographic made by the CheckMyBus elves!
*Performing the calculations might not return the exact results shown due to rounding.