Physical Insights

An independent scientist’s observations on society, technology, energy, science and the environment. “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.” – Carl Sagan

Earth Hour, candles and carbon

with 89 comments

There’s one thing in particular that bothers me about Earth Hour – these people who electric lights and then go and light up candles, and think that they’re helping do something about anthropogenic forcing of climate change.

The widespread practice of misguided eco-Luddites turning off their lights for Earth Hour and burning candles as a source of light is grossly misguided and actually contributes to increased carbon dioxide emissions.

Yes, I know candles are nice and romantic – but you’re taking paraffin wax, in the form of a candle, and burning it, very inefficiently, at a low temperature. This stuff is pure hydrocarbon – it’s a heavy alkane fraction distilled straight off crude oil. This stuff is getting so scarce that nations are prepared to go to war just to secure it, remember?

A candle flame burns at a low temperature – so it’s a thermodynamically very inefficient source of energy – and most of the energy released in a candle is wasted as heat, anyway.

Even if 80% of your electricity comes from coal and fossil fuel fired power stations, as it does in Australia, burning candles is very polluting and certainly very greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions intensive, even more so than electric lighting.

If you need to do something that requires light – then leave an electric light on – just one. It’s far more efficient, less carbon dioxide emissions intensive and better for the environment – not to mention much safer than using hazardous candles.

If you want the romance of a candle, try looking for candles that you are certain are made from pure “carbon neutral” beeswax or tallow – not from crude oil in the form of paraffin wax.

Can’t we just put science, reason, rationality, education and reason ahead of trendy politics and trendy dogmas – before it’s too late?

What Earth Hour should not be about is the notion that we want to have a civilisation without artificial lighting – this is absolutely ridiculous. Lighting up the darkness was one of the most useful technological achievements in human history – why would we give that up?

Using electricity for lighting is far more efficient and environmentally sound than the primitive technologies, burning fossil fuels dirtily, at ambient pressure and relatively low temperatures, that came before electrification.

The use of electricity, and the use of electric lighting, is part of our way of life, in a developed, technological first-world society – I, for one, am not prepared to give that up, not the least because we don’t have to.

Light bulbs don’t produce greenhouse gases – burning fossil fuels to generate electricity does.

Let’s focus our efforts on moving away from fossil fuel based electricity generation, and expanding the use of non-greenhouse gas intensive hydroelectricity, nuclear energy, and wind energy, to solve our problems with anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Earth Hour should be about doing everything that you can to reasonably, sensibly limit your demand for electricity – and we can do this every hour of every day, of course. It makes sense for everyone – after all, you pay for the electricity.

I guess I have a problem with the idea that Earth Hour symbolises something.

It might symbolise something, but it doesn’t actuallydo anything.

The only thing it symbolises is primitive society.

I’d much rather see people spend their Earth Hour doing something that really does count for something.

Instead of spending your Earth Hour bearing with an uncomfortable, dark lifestyle, use that hour to think about the things that we can all do every day to limit electricity consumption, that we will actually bother to do every day, that are compatible with the fact that, yes, in our developed first-world society, we actually use electricity, and we work after the sun goes down. Think about the things that are compatible with our sensible lifestyles in the developed world, and do them, and it works out better for everybody!

Now, let’s consider just how much, quantitatively, this use of candles during Earth Hour is responsible for increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

Postulate I: A typical candle produces about 13 lumens of visible light, from a total power output of about 40 W, most of which is heat.
Postulate II: A 40 W electric incandescent light bulb consumes 40 W of electric power, and produces approximately 500 lumens of visible light output.
Postulate III: The overwhelming majority of candles are made from petroleum, in the form of paraffin wax. Paraffin wax has a heat of combustion of approximately 42 kJ/g, and can be assumed to consist, chemically, entirely of pentacosane – $\mathrm{C_{25}H_{52}}$.
Postulate IV: The average greenhouse gas emissions intensity for electric power generation in Australia is about 1000 g $\mathrm{CO_{2e}}$/kWh, and electricity is transmitted with transmission losses of about 7%.

$\mathrm{C_{25}H_{52}(g)\ +\ 38\ O_{2}(g)\ \to 26\ H_{2}O(g)\ +\ 25\ CO_{2}(g)}$

$\mathrm{M(C_{25}H_{52})}$ = 352.68 g/mol;

$\mathrm{M(CO_{2})}$ = 44.0 g/mol.

Thus, we know the emission of carbon dioxide from burning candles:

$\mathrm{\frac{40\ W/candle\ \cdot\ 25\ mol/mol\ \cdot\ 44\ g/mol\ \cdot\ 3600\ s/h}{4.2\ \times\ 10^{4}\ J/g\ \cdot\ 352.68\ g/mol}\ =\ 10.69\ gCO_{2e}}$ – per candle per hour.

And the rate of carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity generation corresponding to the use of 13 lumens worth of lighting – the equivalent of one candle – for one hour:

$\mathrm{\frac{13\ lumens/candle\ \times\ 1000 g/kWh\ \times\ 107\%\ \times\ 40\ W\ \times\ 10^{-3}\ kW/W}{500\ lumens}\ =\ 1.11\ gCO_{2e}}$ – per candle-equivalent of electric light per hour.

Therefore, for every candle that is burned to replace electric lighting during Earth Hour, greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the one hour are increased by 9.6 g of carbon dioxide.
If the light output from a 40 W light bulb was to be completely replaced by candles, this will lead to the emission of an extra 295 grams of carbon dioxide per over simply using the electric lights – if the equivalent of one thousand 40 W bulbs are replaced by candles, that’s an extra 295 kilograms of $\mathrm{CO_{2}}$ emitted.

In places where a greater proportion of the electricity supply is generated by nuclear energy or hydroelectricity, this increase in greenhouse gas emissions is even larger.

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Written by Luke Weston

March 31, 2008 at 5:13 pm

89 Responses

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1. Nice post. I was wondering about these numbers.

Another interesting report I read showed some disappointment with actual energy savings this year (~8%) from last year (~10%), but this didn’t surprise me at all. If this is a ‘lights out’ event, and we’re all swapping to compact fluorescent lights…. wouldn’t the impact be expected to drop each successive year??

Ed

March 31, 2008 at 6:02 pm

2. I wondered about this too and found this very interesting but that it could be slightly flawed.

You’re assuming that everyone will replace each 40W light with 38-39 candles (500/13) to replace the lumens or light. I think most people will only replace each light with some candles and if it is 3 or less on average that are used in place of the light bulb, then it is a reduction in CO2 emmissions from electricity. Also Earth Hour is mainly to get the public more aware of turning of unneccessary lights and other things. I myself wouldn’t have used more then 2 candles per light switched off. Like they say its a start not a solution. Earth Hour does not symbolise a primitive society. Have you ever seen more culture from aristocrats eating at a candle lit table?

Robert

April 1, 2008 at 10:12 am

• You should read it properly before posting rubbish comment. The candle use the SAME energy as light bulb but only produce 13 lumens of visible light compare to 500 from the light bulb with the same power (40W) because most of this energy was wasted as heat.
This bullshit earth hour with candle light burning is an example of idiots trying to act smart.

Vince

March 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm

• Burning one candle for an hour has a greater impact than does 10 40w light bulbs. Someone who is a good steward of the earth would not have 10 lights on to begin with, so turning off the lights and lighting a single candle is more detrimental than it would have been to leave the lights on.

Next year, just turn off all but one light.
And your refrigerator.
And your computer.

ss396

April 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm

• Like your comment 🙂

Verena

April 3, 2012 at 5:04 am

3. I am currently doing an assignment for atmospheric issues (at uni), about the effect that candles have on the environment. I am going to include a comparison of the greenhouse gases produced by a lightbulb and candles of equivalent luminescence. I’m so glad that I found your post, it will help me out a lot!
Thanks!

Ash

April 5, 2008 at 3:16 am

4. This issue struck me as a great example of how there are no quick feel good solutions. Earth Hour can not calculate and boost of emission savings and at the same time dismiss the potential emissions of alternate light sources. Without this balance Earth Hour is nothing more then a “Love In” by candle light.

Don’t get me wrong. I applaud Earth Hour for making the planet think of conservation, yet making this inconsistency apparent is of equal value if we are to effect real change. It emphasizes that making a difference requires critical thought. It is far more of a challenge then simply turning out the lights in solidarity. Highlighting this candle issue demonstrates that we can move the planet to change, but without a full understanding (i.e.: net gain or loss of emissions), we could easy cause a greater problem.

It is important to shed light on this as it is not just initiatives like Earth Hour, but those of politicians and policy makers that must examine the whole process of proposed GHG reduction where the ultiate difference is not grams but megatonnes. A global net loss of GHG emissions is not likely if we glaze over the subject with good will and egnore the burning flames before us.

Thanks for your work and interest in the subject.

Cheers,

Formula note: I am not familiar with the equations but I think your second answer should be labelled something like equivalent electrical emissions 40 W light bulb per hour or carbon dioxide emissions for common electrically generated light per hour. The current label: “per candle per hour” I believe is in error – it is the same label as the previous answer addressing burning candles.

Brian

April 7, 2008 at 1:51 am

5. You’ve got quite the right idea – I meant grams of CO2 per candle-equivalent (13 lumens) of lighting generated by electric lighting per hour.

enochthered

April 7, 2008 at 7:40 am

6. When you say beeswax candles are “carbon neutral” do you mean they produce no co2, or do you mean they are more efficient and produce less? What would your equation look like if you were using a beeswax candle instead of paraffin?

G

April 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm

7. Thanks for the question – it’s a good question.

The chemical composition of beeswax in a candle is not especially dissimilar to petroleum (paraffin) wax.

When you burn it, that absolutely does produce carbon dioxide, just like burning a petroleum fuel.

But it’s “carbon neutral” just like a “bio-fuel”, in the same sense that we talk about “carbon neutral” fuels in that context – like bio-oils or ethanol or biodiesel or so forth. These fuels all produce carbon dioxide when burned – but it’s carbon that is naturally cycled through the ecospheric carbon cycle – not from fossil fuel.

enochthered

April 12, 2008 at 4:07 pm

8. Dear Enocthered,
I have not thoroughly read through your initial post “earth hour, candles and carbon”, but are we saying here that if we were to all only use beeswax candles during Earth Hour, then earth hour would be doing its perceived job? To reduce carbon emissions?

pantheress

April 21, 2008 at 10:51 pm

9. Well, then Earth Hour *might* result in a tiny reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It might result in a tiny reduction in greenhouse gas emissions anyway – but it’s such a small perturbation in the demand that, as we saw last year, it’s statistically indistinguishable from normal variation in instantaneous peak-load demand.

I wouldn’t consider “Earth Hour’s job” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – if it does that, it certainly doesn’t do a very good job, and there are better ways to do it.

Earth Hour should represent everybody thinking about reasonable, sensible opportunities for reducing excessive electricity consumption – but not Luddism. Nobody should feel guilty at all for using electric lighting.

In a society where 94 percent* of the electrical energy generated is generated using fossil fuels, ordinary citizens using electricity are not to blame for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Luke Weston

April 22, 2008 at 9:27 am

10. […] according to Physical Insights, one candle emits 10.69 gCO2e an hour (grams of Carbon dioxide per kilowatt an hour. Most candles […]

• you mean kilowatt hour

ken

March 25, 2011 at 6:32 pm

11. turning of the lights won’t do much to reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions, but choosing a chicken burger instead of a beef burger will reduce your impact on climate change. gram for gram of meat, beef emits 146 times more greenhouse gas than chicken. for every kilo of meat, beef is responsible for 55.5kg of CO2-e and chicken is responsible for 0.38kg of CO2-e (figures from the Australian Greenhouse Office 2005 inventory).

forget the damn candles, stop following the atkins diet.

anna

June 17, 2008 at 4:27 pm

12. I am presently working on the question as a service and information designer. Your information is exactly what I needed for a lecture.

To complete, roughly, one needs 180 candles for a compact fluorescent equivalent light producing 2400 lumens (40W of electricity consumption).
But the candles produces 7200 Watts equivalent of heat, which can be very useful during winter. This is NOT waste but rather misuse.

And :
– A candle produces almost 0 g of solid waste
– A classic light bulb few grams of metal (aluminium, tungsten, nickel-ion, vitrine) and glass
– A fluocompact light leaves a little more waste, consisting of mercury vapor, electronics, plastic, glass and metal (copper, aluminium…)

Alex

January 25, 2009 at 2:12 pm

13. […] will produce a little bit more CO2 than would be produced by the CFL. (thanks, by the way, to enochthered for doing all the math for […]

14. […] will produce a little bit more CO2 than would be produced by the CFL. (thanks, by the way, to enochthered for doing all the math for […]

15. […] will produce a little bit more CO2 than would be produced by the CFL. (thanks, by the way, to enochthered for doing all the math for […]

16. […] although I am now a bit embarrassed by the picture of our dinner table last year. While the source for his information says burning candles is carbon-negative, Hank concludes […]

17. […] although I am now a bit embarrassed by the picture of our dinner table last year. While the source for his information says burning candles is carbon-negative, Hank concludes […]

18. […] although I am now a bit embarrassed by the picture of our dinner table last year. While the source for his information says burning candles is carbon-negative, Hank concludes […]

19. […] although I am now a bit embarrassed by the picture of our dinner table last year. While the source for his information says burning candles is carbon-negative, Hank concludes […]

20. […] on how many candles & lights you use of course, you may actually increase your carbon emissions (unless you make your own candles from tallow of course (a renewable […]

21. […] will produce a little bit more CO2 than would be produced by the CFL. (thanks, by the way, to enochthered for doing all the math for […]

22. […] although I am now a bit embarrassed by the picture of our dinner table last year. While the source for his information says burning candles is carbon-negative, Hank concludes […]

23. […] although I am now a bit embarrassed by the picture of our dinner table last year. While the source for his information says burning candles is carbon-negative, Hank concludes […]

24. […] although I am now a bit embarrassed by the picture of our dinner table last year. While the source for his information says burning candles is carbon-negative, Hank concludes … Filed in News « […]

25. I agree with you completely, and on nuclear power too. Why are so many people so caught up in gimmicks like Earth Hour and devoted to actually not doing anything about fossil fuel use? T. Boone Pickens and half of our congress actually has people believing that natural gas isn’t a fossil fuel either. I’m getting really frustrated with gimmicks and the lies about climate change and the bizarre fears people have about nuclear power too, when what we are facing is so huge.
I just wish people would get serious about really clean energy and stop with the lightbulb fixation.

Earth Hour is yet another gimmick. It didn’t accomplish anything in 2007 and it won’t accomplish anything this year either.

Shelly T.

March 27, 2009 at 5:46 am

26. […] will produce a little bit more CO2 than would be produced by the CFL. (thanks, by the way, to enochthered for doing all the math for […]

27. […] although I am now a bit embarrassed by the picture of our dinner table last year. While the source for his information says burning candles is carbon-negative, Hank concludes […]

28. […] As Australian blogger Enoch the Red pointed out after last year’s Earth Hour that an average Australian who tries to replace all the light produced by an incandescent bulb with light cast by parrifin candles will result in about 10 times the greenhouse emissions. […]

29. 7% transmission losses? Thats baloney. Electrical transmission losses (heat) are massive unless you’re on the 375K line. Additionally, what blend of fuel sources and efficiency of the power plant are you using for your distribution?

Electric lighting is a huge contributor to the demand on power plants – most businesses, streets, and homes are significantly overlit. Many businesses and municipalities are still using inefficient incandescent, HID, and even PAR lighting. Additionally, to one users point, beeswax candles don’t leave a pollution trail like mercury emissions, asbestos gaskets, and broken glass.

Let them shut the lights off, maybe they’ll shut their TV’s off too. Overexess and personal indulgence has contributed to the global problem of pollution and problems associated with magnetohydrodynamics. If you are from the auroral zone you will know exactly what I mean from a health perspective.

VR
elj

Esther

March 27, 2009 at 11:20 pm

30. Symbolism over substance. Other downsides of Earth Hour also include houses that will burn down, ships that will crash due to lighthouses being dark and sweeping blackouts that will occur when everyone turns their power back on.

It’s really annoying, to boot. A lot of people are going to protest this stupid holiday and turn on all of their lights all day.

People wake up and quit being sheep. You have a brain, use it. Al Gore, quit being a stupid piece of shit and shut the fuck up.

Screw Earth Hour

March 28, 2009 at 7:04 am

31. In Victoria, Australia, due to the preponderance of brown coal power stations in the LaTrobe Valley, the average emissions intensity of electricity generation is quite a bit higher than the 1 kg/kWh you are assuming.

e.g. From memory, brown coal has an emissions intensity of around about 1.4 kg/kWh.

However, this is nit picking. Your point is a great one, and I think this is an excellent post.

Chris

March 28, 2009 at 7:34 am

32. @Alex
I’m going solely by the numbers in the article here, but wouldn’t the “295 grams of carbon dioxide per over simply using the electric lights” mean that a 40W CFL = 30 candles worth of CO2?

cnawan

March 28, 2009 at 9:55 am

33. […] Noted the Christian Science Monitor: “As Australian blogger Enoch the Red pointed out after last year’s Earth Hour that an average Australian who tries to replace all the light produced by an incandescent bulb with light cast by parrifin candles will result in about 10 times the greenhouse emissions. […]

34. […] to see now is with the aid of candlelight, which leads me to my next argument.  According to an article written by an anonymous student at the University of Melbourne in Australia, burning candles […]

35. You may be the first thoughtful liberal I’ve encountered. I hope your intelligence survives the socialist indoctrination of academia.

Max

March 29, 2009 at 3:14 am

36. If you’re replacing every 40-watt light bulb with an equivalent amount of candlelight, then you’re misusing the Earth Hour opportunity. At a local restaurant, every table had about two candles per four people. Meanwhile, lights were off that had been formerly committed to lighting trees, outside walls, signage, water fountains, bottoms of bridges, car lots, steeples, and clouds. The reduction of most excessive lights were not then compensated by more candles. One of our challenges is to counter excessive consumption of resources, and the use of a few candles is a small investment for a much greater return. You can’t begin to change behaviors until people are aware of the issues, and Earth Hour brings attention to our collective consumptive behavior at a relatively low cost.

Chuck

March 29, 2009 at 3:29 am

37. […] optic Christmas tree and diners in restaurants were greeted by rooms filled with candles, despite candles actually being ten times worse for the atmosphere (if you believe the CO2 myth) than just leaving the lights […]

38. Considering that there are more house fires during blackouts due to misuse of candles, I wonder if there are reports of any house fires starting as a result of Earth Hour? If so, what are the carbon emmisions from an average house fire?

EllieG

March 29, 2009 at 10:34 am

39. PS – during Earth Hour we take the opportunity to phone family and generally sit around talking in the dark – no lights, no TV. And if we need any light for a moment it’s usually an LED or mobile phone rather than a candle.

EllieG

March 29, 2009 at 10:37 am

40. The fallacy of your position is evident in the first two lines: Earth Hour is not about reducing CO2 emissions for a hour, it is about communication. It’s like criticizing Al Gore for flying–you have to fly to communicate effectively with global opinon-makers, just as you have to go on television if you want to tell people who watch too much TV that they’re watching too much TV. If you try to communicate with illiterate TV addicts through thick professorial books, you fail.

That said, the issue of beeswax candles was hinted at by other comments, as well as the issue of glass and metal waste (not to mention mercury and heavy metals, mining, etc.). Perhaps beeswax candles produce as much smoke, heat and CO2 as petroleum-based candles–but they have a short, often local supply chain and can be produced within a few miles of most inner cities, or even in densely populated urban areas.

You have to zero base budget if you’re going to have any chance sustainability, let alone ecological soundness. We need to go sustainable if our technological civilization is to survive: sustainability is survival. Everything else is Malthusian.

Nothing else will do.

That’s one reason why I don’t think nuclear power is the answer. I don’t care for its mining-based, heavy metal-based, oil-burning giant truck-based supply chain, or the sweeping under the carpet of subsidies (via the military and government-driven, non-market electricity pricing) or the complete inadequacy of current toxic and radioactive waste handling.

What’s the real price of beeswax versus uranium–from the ground up?

It is all meaningless until the entire supply and disposal chain has been priced out in realistic ecological and economical terms.

Brant

March 29, 2009 at 8:38 pm

41. When you’re done calculating the real cost of beeswax or uranium, you might want to start on the 100,000s of thousands of products and the 100,000s of chemicals and processes (most of which are proprietary and therefore largely unknown except to a few corporate or government chemists employed by the intellectual property holders).

None of the official lists of chemicals used by industry, agriculture, construction, cleaning, etc., are any where near complete. But you can make a start on the first few 10,000s.

Find out what things really cost the ecology and the economy, apart from the obvious things like 95% of the predator fish populations being gone, or 85% of the world’s coral reefs being seriously affected by bleaching, viruses, silt, pollution, dragnet fishing, etc.

Brant

March 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm

42. […] Insights vez alguns cálculos e chegou ao resultado de uma maior emissão de carbono para as velas. https://enochthered.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/earth-hour-candles-and-carbon/ Mas, novamente, ele fez diversas considerações sobre eficiências e luminosidade que podem não […]

Velas na Hora do Planeta

March 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm

43. The Earth Hour was not only about turning of the lights but to quit all possible electricity use for one hour. People usually use several appliances, and not only one lightbulb in this hour.
The message for me was, I can spend one hour without electricity if I decide to. I can even spend it with only one candle lit on.
What should we do – try to find a way to use less electricity, or build new plants to serve all our endless needs?

september99

March 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm

44. […] more on why Earth Hour is bulls**t, read this.  Its very good.  And a bit eye opening, for the people who think their statement did anything […]

45. The worst possible outcome for the environment would be if these clowns got their way and destroyed the economies of the world. Imagine the carbon spewed and other real pollutants emitted as billions of impoverished people resort to candles and anything else they can find to burn for simple light and heat when money becomes worthless and carbon is used as an excuse to tax everything in sight.

John the Econ

March 30, 2009 at 10:40 pm

46. Another liberal “solution” like the CFL bulbs leeching mercury into our rivers.

Other solutions:
Wind: mills flinging ice into homes, killing and maiming people, destroying property, killing off entire bat populations
Solar: Entire fields of collectors required to generate enough energy for only one building
Biodiesel: Killing off the equivalent of an entire country’s agricultural land so Hollywood celebs can look socially conscious

Workable solutions not PC enough to be allowed:
Nuclear
Clean coal
Drilling for oil

Yeah, let’s talk about letting science and reason, not emotion, dictate policy. Then the Leftists might regain some credibility, but not before. Currently, they are a childish, hippie joke.

democratsarefascists

March 31, 2009 at 5:19 pm

47. Of course, if Earth Hour were about saving carbon emissions for that one hour of ‘lights out’, this article would have a point. As that wasn’t the point of Earth Hour, the article is irrelevant and nothing more than picking holes in the efforts of others to raise awareness.

DavidCOG

April 1, 2009 at 12:20 am

48. “Carbon neutral” is a way of saying I care, without actively doing anything about it.

The 1999 Coal – CO2 emission of USA would have taken a forest the size of jupiter (120 times earth’s surface) to fix.

All forms of Bio-fuels do not reduce atmospheric CO2.

Sridhar

April 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm

49. […] ang CO2 emission.  What’s the use of energy saving campaign for climate change if we are to burn candles that can harm Mother Earth? It may be an exaggeration but a small number is still a number that can still have an impact. Can […]

50. […] https://enochthered.wordpress.com/200…es-and-carbon/ Candle can produce about 10.69g C02/hr according to this, which based on my calculations is a LOT more than any baking soda drip is going to give you… Only question is, does that CO2 rise with the heat and disappear, or does it dissipate to actually be useful. I'm thinking in my 4×4 (with a good exhaust running), I'd need maybe 4 candles burning to raise the co2 PPM to maybe 450-500… of course, if I turned down the exhaust, it could get higher. sorry for the revive, but this thread has great serps on google so I figured why not. GS_googleAddAdSenseService("ca-pub-9888434945255495"); GS_googleEnableAllServices(); GA_googleAddSlot("ca-pub-9888434945255495", "RIU_skyscraper_header"); GA_googleFetchAds(); GA_googleFillSlot("RIU_skyscraper_header"); Reply With Quote + Reply to Thread « California Dream Grow (Skywalker Og) | – » […]

Burning a candle for C02

October 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

51. […] propane makes it go off the charts though. http://www.math.harvard.edu/~knill/p…ent/index.html https://enochthered.wordpress.com/200…es-and-carbon/ Both of those say yes it does produce carbon dixode But be careful, I did go get some candles, […]

52. Hello my loved one! I want to say that this article is amazing, great written and come with approximately all important infos. I’d like to peer extra posts like this .

snoep

January 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm

53. Whilst the calculations are correct – I think they are misleading.

Using your calculations and postulations, put simply:
– One 40W lightbulb emits 42.8 g CO2 per hour, and produces 500 lumens of visible light output
– One candle emits 10.69g CO2 per hour, and produces 13 lumens of visible light output

Therefore, if one uses less than 4 candles (i.e. 3 candles or less) to replace one 40W lightbulb (at full capacity) then that person will be more carbon-emission efficient, than using the 40W lightbulb…

However, I do agree that the issue lies with using fossil fuels to generate electricity, which has to be replaced by more carbon efficient solutions as democratsarefascists has quite rightly pointed out.

nospam

March 30, 2012 at 3:11 am

54. […] As Australian blogger Enoch the Red pointed out after last year’s Earth Hour that an average Australian who tries to replace all the light produced by an incandescent bulb with light cast by parrifin candles will result in about 10 times the greenhouse emissions. […]

55. […] As Australian blogger Enoch the Red pointed out after last year’s Earth Hour that an average Australian who tries to replace all the light produced by an incandescent bulb with light cast by parrifin candles will result in about 10 times the greenhouse emissions. […]

56. […] As Australian blogger Enoch the Red pointed out after last year’s Earth Hour that an average Australian who tries to replace all the light produced by an incandescent bulb with light cast by parrifin candles will result in about 10 times the greenhouse emissions. […]

57. When everyone of you leaving comment here, I think Earth Hour is getting its job done…. AWARENESS… I’d never bother to calculate how much CO2 produce from a 40W bulb or a candle. But now, I’m insearch of the answer, thank to be EH.

Kent Lo

March 31, 2012 at 4:09 pm

• Couldn’t agree with you more 🙂

Verena

April 3, 2012 at 5:08 am

58. […] It’s been celebrated for some years now: started in Australia in 2003, Earth Hour is now a worldwide happening. The event is simple: for one hour, at 8:30 local time, non-essential lights are turned off and power-consuming devices are unplugged (or at least switched off). It is a symbolic action that shows unity in the stand for our world and our enviornment. I don’t think it was ever intended to have much “effect” on either electricity use or carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Indeed, as has been pointed out before: burning a candle for an hour is worse for the environment than using a 25W bulb (Luke Weston). […]

59. […] It’s been celebrated for some years now: started in Australia in 2003, Earth Hour is now a worldwide happening. The event is simple: for one hour, at 8:30 local time, non-essential lights are turned off and power-consuming devices are unplugged (or at least switched off). It is a symbolic action that shows unity in the stand for our world and our enviornment. I don’t think it was ever intended to have much “effect” on either electricity use or carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Indeed, as has been pointed out before: burning a candle for an hour is worse for the environment than using a 25W bulb (Luke Weston). […]

60. I was wondering, does any of you who are commenting this article really practice any one of green lifestyles? I mean, that’s the point right? Instead of getting busy with your comments, would be much better to appreciate people who already start something.

Verena

April 3, 2012 at 5:07 am

61. […] that’s even taking into account not using other sources of light – mathematically proven! (via […]

62. […] to figures produced by enochthered,  for every candle burned to replace electric lighting, greenhouse emissions are increased by 9.6 […]

63. […] lampa eller ett tänt ljus? Resonemanget nedan är inspirerat av ett liknande från bloggen Physical Insights även om jag räknar på ett annat sätt och utgår ifrån andra […]

64. I am So Glad I am not the only person who thinks about these kinds of things!! Thank you for your quantitative analysis!

Kathleen Hunter

January 3, 2014 at 10:35 pm

65. […] candles today are made of paraffin wax. When burned, each candle emits about 11g of carbon dioxide per hour.  According to the EPA, the US electric grid in 2010 put out, on average, 1.23lb of carbon dioxide […]

66. […] candles today are made of paraffin wax. When burned, each candle emits about 11g of carbon dioxide per hour.  According to the EPA, the US electric grid in 2010 put out, on average, 1.23lb of carbon dioxide […]

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March 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm

67. ok,
we still need lot of burning fossil fuels
but please don’t destroy our earth
😦

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June 26, 2014 at 11:04 am

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September 12, 2014 at 12:03 am

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September 4, 2015 at 2:21 pm

74. You do know a lot of candles are made from animal fats/honey/etc. Not all oil is bad.

Historian554

December 28, 2015 at 6:45 am

75. Reblogged this on The Big Idea.

Adam Voight

March 20, 2016 at 3:24 pm

76. good post

anton electric

November 17, 2016 at 8:22 pm

77. JP in AZ

November 21, 2016 at 4:21 am

78. the people turning lights out make no sense
at my friends fine dining restaurrant the waiter said we should turn off the lights fir earth hour
i said are you nuts
this is a business and the safety concerns with little ir no light
i tell the light freaks on earth day i turn every light on in my house even the light in the oven

braden gylmor

December 4, 2017 at 5:20 am

79. […] your light switches for one hour! (If you’re thinking of switching to candles to save carbons, this report suggests otherwise.) The goal of the World Wildlife Fund is to have one billion people worldwide […]

80. Idiot did alot of good Math, but ignores reality. When the electric goes off ppl use whatever they can get. And bees wax costs more than parafin as it should.

Gil

December 9, 2018 at 2:18 pm

81. Of course this article was written in 2008. It was 2009 that the story hit the press about “Bees Disappearing” and the first claim was to blame “Pesticides.” But we now must consider other factors such as herbicides, climate change and mass deforestation. And why not even suspect that Over-milking the bees. The bees harvest enough honey and convert it to the hive or house for themselves, so when their food and house is taken for human use the bees may be working overtime like slaves. AND what the author of the story ignores is bee sales may only be around One Billion per year while Paraffin wax sales is easily over 5 Billion. Another issue I have at this writers claim is he I assumed using some average melt temperature for paraffin to his math. But not all paraffin waxes melt at the same temperature. I made Cut-n-Curl candles for years and used only 140-145 degree melt temp wax. It was mostly made in Japan and was filtered and processed to make a wax that could be carved without flaking. Which leaves the question “Does better filtration create a less damaging wax.” I had Asthma as a child and a lifetime of allergies, yet when working with my wax melter I had no extra symptoms and in fact the smell of the wax was soothing. Anyway the writer of this story has done harm to the bees, as demand for beeswax may turn bee colony owners to stress the bees beyond the normal. Bottom Line is most people only keep candles for when the electricity goes out. Sure there are still some who use them for other reasons, but people in general are straying away from the candles. And the “Punishment” taxes on the fossil fuel industry alone makes it impossible to buy and sell paraffin candles. So now the bess must die and their ability to pollinate means forests die. All because some Global Warming Fanatic has like the boy who yelled “The sky is falling” has decided to play God.

Gilbert Stewart Lay

December 9, 2018 at 3:49 pm

• And I forget to mention- It’s the Wick that actually burns not the wax.!!!!! The whole article didn’t get into the wick whatsoever.

Gilbert Stewart Lay

December 9, 2018 at 4:03 pm

82. […] your light switches for one hour! (If you’re thinking of switching to candles to save carbons, this report suggests […]