Feeds

STONERS are DESTROYING the PLANET

Marijuana causes, uh, climate change

Build a business case: developing custom apps

"Let's find out what everybody is doing – and stop them doing it" – A P Herbert

Stoners are helping destroy the planet. Not by excessive snacking, but thanks to the high-energy demands of indoor marijuana cultivation. So says a US Government policy analyst with a Puritanical streak and an EYE for a SHOUTY HEADLINE.

Evan Mills, who works at Lawrence Livermore Labs but conducted the study in his own time, estimates that indoor pot growing accounts for 1 per cent of energy usage in the United States, with each spliff representing two pounds of CO2 emission. Heavy.

About 32 per cent of energy in the cultivation process is used by lighting equipment, including motorised lamp rails; 26 per cent by ventilation systems and dehumidifiers; 18 per cent by air conditioning; and the rest... uh, we can't remember.

Mills thinks that the energy usage could be reduced dramatically: "Cost-effective efficiency improvements of 75 per cent are conceivable, which would yield energy savings of about $25,000/year for a generic 10-module growing room. Shifting cultivation outdoors eliminates most energy uses (aside from transport), although the practice can impose other environmental impacts."

When medical marijuana was legalised in California in 1996, Humboldt County saw a rise in energy usage of around 50 per cent, according to one estimate. Around one-third of California's pot is grown indoors.

It's all a question of priorities. Just to put things in perspective, the climate change mania has been used to justify burning food. Almost half of US corn is now grown for fuel, with US ethanol refineries handling enough corn to feed 330 million people for a year. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) estimates it has pushed an additional 33 million people into absolute poverty, and since poverty kills, that has resulted in an 192,000 additional deaths a year.

But expect to hear more. Targeting the pot industry appeals to environmentalists in a number of ways. It allows several new bureaucracies to sprout forth, and more importantly, it also plays to "the haunting fear" (in Mencken's description of Puritanism) that "someone, somewhere, may be happy". ®

Related Link

Energy Up In Smoke: The Carbon Footprint of Indoor Cannabis Production

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.