The carbon costs of campaigning

The results are in - no, not the linkurl:election,;http://www.the-scientist.com/election/ but the total carbon footprints. In the past two years linkurl:John McCain;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55012/ and linkurl:Barack Obama;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54995/ have crisscrossed the country on private jets, they've printed out piles of party literature, they've sent their vice presidential picks and significant others on their own circuits, and they've staffed thousand

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Nov 3, 2008
The results are in - no, not the linkurl:election,;http://www.the-scientist.com/election/ but the total carbon footprints. In the past two years linkurl:John McCain;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55012/ and linkurl:Barack Obama;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54995/ have crisscrossed the country on private jets, they've printed out piles of party literature, they've sent their vice presidential picks and significant others on their own circuits, and they've staffed thousands of field offices. All of these activities consume energy, paper, and other resources. And it all boils down to linkurl:carbon dioxide emissions.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/24462/ The total carbon footprints of these campaigns? McCain - 58,568 tons CO2 Obama - 77,894 tons CO2 These numbers represent estimates based on total campaign expenditures. Obama spent more than $400,000,000 while McCain spent less than $227,000,000 on travel, campaign events, printing materials, and the other necessities of modern campaigning. linkurl:Standard Carbon,;http://www.standardcarbon.com/ a carbon offset provider and consultancy, conducted the linkurl:calculations.;http://standardcarbon.com/resources/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/us-presidential-election-carbon-footprint.pdf The average two-person US household emits just under 21 tons of CO2...
rl:John McCain;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55012/ and linkurl:Barack Obama;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54995/ have crisscrossed the country on private jets, they've printed out piles of party literature, they've sent their vice presidential picks and significant others on their own circuits, and they've staffed thousands of field offices. All of these activities consume energy, paper, and other resources. And it all boils down to linkurl:carbon dioxide emissions.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/24462/ The total carbon footprints of these campaigns? McCain - 58,568 tons CO2 Obama - 77,894 tons CO2 These numbers represent estimates based on total campaign expenditures. Obama spent more than $400,000,000 while McCain spent less than $227,000,000 on travel, campaign events, printing materials, and the other necessities of modern campaigning. linkurl:Standard Carbon,;http://www.standardcarbon.com/ a carbon offset provider and consultancy, conducted the linkurl:calculations.;http://standardcarbon.com/resources/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/us-presidential-election-carbon-footprint.pdf The average two-person US household emits just under 21 tons of CO2 per year, according to the linkurl:US Environmental Protection Agency.;http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/calculator/ind_calculator.html __The Washington Times__ linkurl:reports;http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/trail-times/2008/Oct/30/obamas-big-carbon-footprint-1/ that while neither candidate has specifically paid for carbon offsets, the charter flight company that the Obama camp uses does pay for carbon offsets. According to Standard Carbon, to balance out the CO2 pollution generated by the two front runners in the 2008 Presidential race, "approximately 18 square miles of new trees would need to be planted." That's 1,362,359 trees for the McCain campaign and 1,811,904 trees for Obama's. No matter who emerges victorious, let's hope come January, they get planting.

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