Navigation Links
Scientists should look at their own carbon footprint

Scientists studying the impact of climate change on the Arctic need to consider ways to reduce their own carbon footprints, says a researcher who regularly flies north to study the health of caribou.

In the June issue of Arctic, the journal of the University of Calgary's Arctic Institute of North America, postdoctoral fellow Ryan Brook calls on scientists to show leadership by examining and sharing ways to reduce the impact of working in polar regions.

"The importance of the research is not at question here. It is vital to our understanding of and adapting to climate change. But we need to think about better approaches," says Brook from the U of C's faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

"This is an issue for all scientists, though polar researchers often travel particularly long distances using commercial air travel. We also rely extensively on small aircraft, icebreakers, and snowmobiles, all of which produce large amounts of carbon. We know that carbon release by human activity is a key contributor to climate change."

Brook studies the health and anatomy of caribou herds in Nunavut and Northwest Territories. He collaborates with northern wildlife managers and is also involved in youth education. This work typically takes him north five or six times per year and when he calculated his own carbon footprint, he was not happy with the result.

"My research footprint is about the same as the annual footprint of an average Toronto resident. Basically, I have two footprintsmy own personal life, which is moderate, and my research footprint."

Arctic research is a specialized field and the community of scientists who travel north is relatively small. Even if all scientists working in the north reduced their carbon emissions, it would not make a big impact on the global scale. For Brook, it's the optics that matter.

"The total footprint of all scientists is small, but it's important to critically evaluate how we can reduce our footprint from research activities. What are we doing in the best ways possible? Where can we improve? What do we need in order to improve? Let's start talking about this on a larger scale."

There are ways researchers can reduce the amount of carbon they use. Some helicopters use less fuel than others. Solar and wind power are alternatives to gas-fired generators. And while carbon offsets don't reduce the amount of carbon emitted, they are an easy first step.

"There aren't necessarily any easy answers, but we need to start talking about it," says Brook. "This is particularly important for the next generation of scientists being trained and I hope to see them become leaders in this issue."


Contact: Leanne Niblock
University of Calgary

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/16/2016)... , June 16, 2016 ... size is expected to reach USD 1.83 billion ... Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing ... applications are expected to drive the market growth. ... , The development of advanced multimodal ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Paris Police ... video security solution to ensure the safety of people and ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international technology ... services, announced today that its video security solution will be ... back up public safety across the country. The system roll-out ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... LONDON , June 2, 2016 ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, ... Security Embossed Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure ... world leader in the production and implementation of Identity Management ... in January, however Decatur was selected ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the leading software as a service ... Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both audio and video telemedicine communication ... , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can schedule a face to face ...
(Date:6/24/2016)...  Regular discussions on a range of subjects including policies, ... entities said Poloz. Speaking at a lecture to ... he pointed to the country,s inflation target, which is set ... "In certain areas there needs ... economic goals, why not sit down and address strategy together?" ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of the leading manufacturers ... Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been manufacturing high quality ... list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores as Whole Foods, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , ... tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial ...
Breaking Biology Technology: