AskPablo is taking a break

AskPablo is on vacation this week. I would like to wish you and your family happy holidays and all the best for the new year. May you be safe, happy, and sustainable. Pablo Päster Sustainability Engineer

AskPablo: Disposable Cups vs. Reusable Mugs

Recently I have been getting more and more questions regarding my very first AskPablo post. Michael and Phil both asked me about paper cups, which were not included in the initial analysis, and I also received an e-mail from Anna. So this week I will recap the results from my very first post and will … Continued

Air-Pooling Politicians?

Car-pooling is so 1990’s… The eco-conscious politicians of today are sharing their private jets in the name of protecting the climate. This week Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen reportedly flew together to sign the Lisbon Treaty. Another private jet transported the leaders of Estonia and Finland to Portugal … Continued

The end of Bretton Woods?

The mainstream media doesn’t seem to understand the potential magnitude of changes currently underway in the sensitive international monetary balance. On December 8th Iran decided to no longer accept the US dollar in exchange for its oil. Since the mainstream media did not cover it either, you may not remember that this was one of … Continued

AskPablo: Katrina’s Trees

When hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast it not only uprooted and killed citizens, but it also killed millions of trees. In fact, Tulane University researchers estimated the number at 320 million. Not only does this loss decrease the amount of CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere, but the trees will actually contribute greenhouse gases to … Continued

AskPablo: Should I buy a hybrid?

This week a frequent reader presented me with a common dilemma. “Does the fuel economy improvement of a hybrid really justify paying the price premium?” I’ll take a look at several different car models that are available in both hybrid and standard versions in order to come up with an answer. I began by researching … Continued

AskPablo: Green Holiday Lights?

Now that turkey day is behind us the holiday season is in full swing. Despite my annual Grinch-like attitude, it once again looks like Christmas threw up inside my house (thanks to my wife — she says its an addiction she’s had since childhood) and there is no shortage of holiday lights. We all have … Continued

AskPablo: How can I reduce the emissions of my company’s fleet?

This week Jamie asked me about the climate change impact of her company’s vehicle fleet and the options for reducing it. Her company has a vehicle fleet of 738 vehicles that average around 30,000 miles per year each. That adds up to 22,140,000 vehicle miles per year, or 0.00131% of US annual passenger miles (22,140,000 … Continued

An End to the Petrodollar?

On Friday, June 16, 2006 Samuel Brittan wrote in the Financial Times (page 11) that “the most likely trigger for a dollar collapse would be a US housing market setback.” I read this with gratitude that someone was actually addressing this important global threat but I had to respectfully disagree. The greatest threat to the … Continued

AskPablo: What’s up with “Clean Coal” and Carbon Capture and Sequestration?

Many people have asked me about the feasibility of “clean coal” paired with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as a genuine option for a more sustainable future. In a previous article I wrote about coal-fired power plants (see AskPablo: Coal-Fired Power Plants) so I won’t beat that dead horse too much. However, I will discuss … Continued

AskPablo: Putting a Lid on Bottled Water

When we read the words “Water, water everywhere, nor a drop to drink [sic]” from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” we can almost feel the maddening thirst that a shipwrecked sailor must endure in the middle of a salty, salty sea. Equally maddening, but sadly far more common, is the … Continued

AskPablo: Is the IPCC wrong on sea level rise?

Despite its name, Greenland is anything but green (which I can appreciate since my name is also a bit misleading because I am not even remotely Hispanic — I was born in Germany…And no, you may not AskPablo about this, ask my mom). In another bit of irony you will also find that Iceland is … Continued

AskPablo: Where do car tires go?

Kristina recently needed new car tires so she asked me where the old ones go. She wasn’t referring to the big tire pile seen in the Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield but where the tread on the tire goes. In order to answer that question we first need to learn a little bit more about car … Continued

AskPablo: What is the Cost of Carbon?

This week’s question comes from Richard. He asks how the price of Carbon Dioxide is determined. Unfortunately for me this is not an easy question to answer since there are many different prices for carbon. I will give it my best and hopefully you will be satisfied…

AskPablo: How many trees does my office Kill?

This week I was asked by Craig how many trees his office kills each year. In order to give him an answer I had him collect some basic information, like how many reams of paper they use each week. His office uses around 60 reams per week, an average of 100 sheets per person and … Continued