EMISSION FACTORS FOR WALKING AND CYCLING

R91 DAVID A. COLEY APRIL 2001

T.A.Mitchell

doc 2 .30 g C (as CO2)/km for cycling. Our analysis gives implied emission factors of 11. For comparison. Usually.40 g of C (as CO2)/km for walking and 8. emission factors are not used for cycling and walking because it is assumed that such activities have zerovalued emissions. This work suggests that this is an invalid approach and estimates UK-based carbon dioxide emission factors for such activities for a large number of individuals. It should be noted that because the resting energy expenditure has been subtracted.9 g of C (as CO2)/km /home/mackay/sustainable/refs/food/91. the typical value for a gasoline fuelled car is 49.Management Summary In preparing and justifying transportation policies. these represent true excess emissions. it is not uncommon to make use of emission factors and we have been asked several times whether walking and cycling result in emissions implicated in global warming.

The origin of the embodied energy in a food. the environmental damage will vary between regions (see for example. the most natural use is as a comparative measure against replacement activities. However. the Dutch National Research Programme on Global Air Pollution and Climate Change have produced a database of energy intensities (in terms of MJ per Dutch Florin) for many common items found in a typical Western European diet (Biesot and Moll. This implies that any activity that increases energy expenditure that is matched by an increase in dietary consumption will lead to an increase in fossil fuel use. processing. It is well known that the production of food for the human population requires large amounts of energy (Coley. This second category of energy expenditure is likely to contain inputs from fossil fuel sources and can therefore be connected with emissions of gases linked to global climate change. and thus the environmental damage caused by such energy expenditure. for humans this cycle is not free-standing and is maintained by various energy inputs. it would seem reasonable to extend this approach to human powered transportation. 1995). /home/mackay/sustainable/refs/food/91. just as in the case of products such as aluminium and other items. However. Blinge and Lougren 1996. 1998). such as that represented by walking and cycling. and ignores the calorific value of the product. additional energy is required for the production and application of agricultural chemicals and the transportation. but also on the mix of fuels and processes used to produce the energy itself. As it is not uncommon to include data on extraction and processing emissions within transport related emission factors. This will be reflected in differing emission factors for similar items. INTRODUCTION Although by definition carbon dioxide exhaled from human metabolic processes is an anthropogenic emission of a greenhouse gas. however. atmosphere.doc 3 . and Edwards and Schelling. The Dutch study related the energy used in the production of a product to the household expenditure on that product. Recent work (Westerterp. transportation distances and other factors used in the production of otherwise identical items. The amount of energy required by this anthropogenic category is termed the embodied energy of the food. 1997. 1996). Very little work appears to have been carried out on how the county of origin and the general energy mix within each Country. This observation suggests the estimation of implied emission factors for various activities. will depend firstly on the processes that were used in the production of the item. 2000) has re-enforced the message that moderate levels of activity. At first sight this seems sensible because any carbon dioxide exhaled should be part of a closed carbon cycle of: atmosphere. human. together with the mix used within the relevant agricultural. Thus. and hence to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.1. Some of this energy is naturally occurring and is required to fuel the bio-chemical processes within the relevant plant or animal. and to a greater degree than that provided by more intense activities. plant. industrial and retail conduits varies across the globe for common dietary items. retail and preparation of the food item in question. At the core of this work was a list of energy intensities for the majority of household items (and services) not just food. Erickson. Although the concept of an implied emission factor could be used with any activity. and analysed the result in terms of income group. The embodied energy differs not only between food items themselves but also between differing agricultural methods. it is not accounted for within the framework of emission inventories. animal. do increase annual energy expenditure. Bretz and Fankhauser.

At the heart of this work is the estimation of the embodied energy content of 2197 real UK adult diets recorded over a single week. Walking and cycling are often encouraged within such policies. As mentioned previously. age and rest metabolism. 1996) and are regularly used as part of the justification for national transportation and energy policies (HMSO.. The diets themselves were taken from the Dietary and Nutritional Survey of British Adults 1986-1987 (Gregory et al.40 g of C (as CO2)/km for walking and 8. 1990). This is clearly not so. together with a factor for mass adjustment of 1. DOE.55x10-5 g of C (as CO2) per J (DUKES. 3. This embodied energy (Efood) is the total energy used to produce one kilogram of final product.30 g C (as CO2)/km for cycling. It is calculated over the entire life cycle of the product.0 kcal/min (McArdle. 4. 1994. 1994). it does not include the energy used in the preservation and preparation of the food within the household. In the figures used here. 1998).e. together with my calculated ratio Efood/Ediet of 5.5 kcal/min (Passmore. or the naturally provided energy source used by the bio-chemical processes during growth. on average nearly six times the amount of fossil-fuel energy is expended in the production of food items for a UK individual’s diet than is provided by a diet of such items. 2000). By extracting the amounts of each food in each individual diet. and at rest. for example solar energy used by photosynthesis within a plant. transportation and retailing of the product. It should be noted that because the resting energy expenditure has been subtracted.18 kg body mass). The result being 30. RESULTS This ratio can then be used together with published data for energy expenditure when walking and cycling to create implied emission factors. et. 7. these represent true excess emissions. By aggregating these ratios across all the recorded diets. height. the average ratio (Efood/Ediet) for the UK was found to be 5. Although to some extent energy expenditure depends on considerations such as sex.47% per 1kg above or below 65kg (Sharkey. Using these figures. 1968) has shown that the variation is small with all but body mass. and using the results of Biesot and Moll (1995) and Vringer and Blok (1995) the embodied energy of each of the 2197 individual diets was estimated. in part because it is assumed that they have zerovalued emission factors. trade and waste disposal (see Engelenburg.75/1.31 kcal/km for cycling.66 kcal/km for walking and 22.9 g of C (as CO2)/km (IPCC. 1994) (64 kg body mass. 1997). the original energy intensity data had to be reduced to embodied energies expressed in units of MJ/kg. Although these implied emission factors will take slightly different values at different walking and cycling speeds the variation will be very small as the variation /home/mackay/sustainable/refs/food/91. including production. The ratio of Efood/Ediet. 1997) (68.doc 4 . 1.2. the value used also does not include the calorific value of the food (Ediet).5 kcal/min (Sharkey. 1995). 4. Using published values for cycling of.83 km/h). It encompasses the direct and indirect energy used in the production. i.75 and an emission factor for the primary energy mix within the UK of 1. leads to implied emission factors of 11. 1967) (65 kg body mass). (Mahadeva. METHOD Direct emission factors for various transport systems are readily available (IPCC. 1995. In order to do this. al. for details). can take a wide range of values dependent on food type and origin (Coley. race. walking. For comparison the typical value for a gasoline fuelled car is 49. allows the excess energy expenditure beyond that of resting to be calculated.

64g. More importantly.in energy expenditure is a very weak function of speed (McArdle. with σ = 2. and thus the implied emission factors reported here will be reduced. The majority of the variation will come from the spectrum of the embodied energies of the individual’s diets.doc 5 . CONCLUSION The use of implied emission factors in the analysis of transportation policies will be seen by many as controversial especially as such policies often strive not only to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Although the use these implied emission factors in the construction of transportation policies is a sensible one. 160 140 Number of individuals 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 g C (as CO2)/km Figure 1. σ = 2. the use of implied emission factors creates an environmental accounting procedure that indicates the importance of reducing the ratio Efood/Ediet. Frequency distribution of implied emission factors for walking from the recorded diets of 2197 UK adults. then it is axiomatic that the level of fossil-fuel use will also fall. If the average embodied energy of a population’s diet can be reduced. such concerns do not reduce the validity of the approach. as this risks double counting with the agricultural and energy transportation sectors. Grundy 1999). but also reduce congestion. However.4 g of C (as CO2)/km. it is important not to apply the concept within the framework of an emissions inventory of the form used by the IPCC. improve local air quality and improve human health (Booth 2000. 4. Mean = 11. 1994). /home/mackay/sustainable/refs/food/91.64g (see Figure 1).

Center for Energy and Environment Studies. IVEMONDERZOEKSRAPPORT No. of the Environment. B (1968) Classical Sudies on Physiscal Activity (eds. London IPCC (1995). HMSO Office of Population Censuses and surveys Grundy. 455-459 DOE (1996) UK Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory. Appl. Philadelphia. Blinge. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.80. P (1997) ‘Life Cycle Assessment of Chemical Production Processes: A Tool for Ecological Optimization’ Chimia 51 (5) 213-217 Coley. W and Moll. T F M. G (1996) ‘Life Cycle Assessment of the Road Transport Sector’ Science of the Total Environment 190 69-76 Gregory. p105 6 /home/mackay/sustainable/refs/food/91.). W. Passmore. E and Macdiarmid. D W and Schelling. 26(6). E. Greenhouse Gas Inventory: Reference Manual. Foster. S M (1999) et. p12. 247 & 252 Edwards. B C W. Lea and Febiger. The Netherlands Booth. F and Katch. New Jersey. J (1998) ‘The embodied energy of food: the role of diet’ Energy Policy. Goodliffe. 31 (suppl. Groningen-Utrecht. ISBN 92-64-14378-5 Mahadeva. a practical step by step method’ Energy Policy 22 (8) 648-656 Erickson. 88. Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics HMSO. Physiol.doc . J. Med. ISBN 0-7058-1728-8 DUKES (2000). Nijenborgh 4. R & Woolf.REFERENCES Biesot. H and Wiseman. K. K and Vringer K (1994) ‘Calculating the energy requirements of household purchases. al. Tyler. Brown. M (1990) The Dietary and Nutritional Survey of British Adults 1986-1987. S E. V (1994) Exercise Physiology. ISBN 0-11515497-3. F W. 9747 AG Groningen. H C (eds) (1995) ‘Reduction of CO2 emissions by lifestyle changes’ final report to the NRP Global Air Pollution and Climate Change. M T (2000) J. C J & Hamilton. D A . Blok. Sports Exerc. Gordon. p95 McArdle. 774-787 Bretz. R C & Kenyon. GS Brown) Prentice-Hall. K. M and Lougren. Katch. Carlson. R and Fankhauser. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. van Rossum. Sci. Dept. 502-508 HMSO (1994) Climate Change: The UK Programme HMSO. J (1996) ‘Municipal Waste Life Cycle Assessment 1 and Aluminum Case Study’ Process Safety and Environmental Protection 74 (B3) 205222 Engelenburg.

J (1967) Energy. K R (2001) Nature 6828. p539 /home/mackay/sustainable/refs/food/91. B (1997) Fitness & Health Human Kinetics. K and Blok. Work & Leisure Heinemann. p239 Vringer.Passmore. p88 Sharkey.doc 7 . R & Durnin. K (1995) ‘The direct and indirect energy requirements of households in the Netherlands’ Energy Policy 23 (10) 893-910 Westerterp. London. Champaign.

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