Minimizing CO2 emission by holding your breath

As you may know, the United Nations hosts a Climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, from the 7th to the 18th of December. The environment is very important to protect, and this got me thinking.

One thought that went through my mind was "I wonder how much CO2 an average person produces every day, by breathing alone", and I set out to find the answer. Please note that all these numbers are averages and estimates, and that the results may be very far from the truth.

First of all, we need to know how much air a person breathes every day. This is 11000 liters of air, according to this.

Now, the amount of CO2 in exhaled breathing air is between 4 and 5%, according to wikipedia, so that is 495000mL or 495 liters of CO2 per person per day. Of course there is already CO2 in the air when we inhale it, to be precise, 0.0387%, which is 4257mL of CO2, inhaled per day. That equates to an average daily CO2 production of 490.743 liters per person.

Alright, now we know the volume of the produced CO2, but how much does it weigh? Well, CO2 weighs in at 1.977 g/L (at 0 degrees celcius, thoug), so each person will produce around 970.198 grams of CO2, every day, all year round. Oh yeah, that will be 354.364kg/year.

The 1st of October, 2009, we were 5532531 people in Denmark, meaning that every day, the danish population had a CO2 emission of 5367.650 tons!

In Denmark in 2008, the life expectancy for men is 75.91 years, and for women 80.47 years (source in danish). That gives an avarage of 78.19 years. In that time, each danish person will have produced 27707.785 tons of CO2.

Minimizing your CO2 emission

You breathe 15 to 25 times a minute, so that is an average of 20 times per minute. Each time you exhale, you will have added an extra 0.0336 grams of CO2 to the atmosphere. This means that you add 0.673 grams of CO2 per minute. If you hold your breath for one minute every day, you will save the environment 246.06kg/year and 19.240 tons in your lifetime (if you live in Denmark).

Think about it. ;-)


Written by Jannich Brendle søn 13 december 2009 In Blogging

tags: CO2jokingstupid math

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