Carbonation and Global Warming?

Recently Dave Burdick compared renewable energy to diet soda: You get all the fun without any of the guilt. Well, a randomly-associating commenter suddenly wondered about the effects of soda CO2 off-gassing on global warming.

Far be it from me to make light of a serious issue like global warming, but I really can’t help but figure out the answer for myself.

So I found some quick (and occasionally disturbing) data:

  • There’s an average of 6 grams of CO2 in 1 liter of soda.
  • The majority of CO2 used in the soft drink industry is a byproduct of, get this, petroleum refineries.
  • There are 300 million people in America.
  • And freakiest of all, the average American drinks 56 gallons of soda per year.

First of all, HOLY CRAP! Fifty Six Gallons Per Year! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do…

Anyhow…now for the math:
300 million people x 56 gallons per person x 3.78 gallons per liter x 6 grams of CO2 per liter soda / 1000 g per kg x 1 ton in 978 kg= 389,570 tons of CO2 emitted by soft drinks yearly in America alone.

I’m sure someone will come along to check my math, but I’m fairly sure that’s right.

Now, since most of this CO2 was going to be emitted from petroleum refineries anyway, it’s not actually a CO2 emission. But it’s pretty amazing that we, in effect, manage to sequester almost 400,000 tons of CO2 (the amount emitted by a town of around 45,000 people) in soda pop every year.

Now, if we could just keep buying them, and stop opening them.