Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Beijing in Numbers...

I have to laugh - shouldn't really, but can't help it - each time we hear the 'righteous' talk about 'bad' China and it's ecological and human rights issues.

Whilst we don't condone 'bad'ness, there seems to be a pair of country/continent-sized blinkers in relation to the 'doing of the bad'. Looking at per-capita, GDP and social figures alone there is more than enough to be ashamed about.

One of the greatest fears - which is VERY carefully worded by politicians - is that the third world will one day be 'as bad as us' which, ironically enough, would mean our certain doom.

This argument that 'we won't stop being bad until they stop being bad' is highly hypocritical given that we are in the first world for our prolonged, historical badness. The lack of civilised behaviour is exactly the beast that we have ridden to get to this point.

This post has been prompted by some number-based chest puffing from Channel 7 over the Olympics.

An excerpt:
Channel 7 has shipped more than 1260 high-definition cameras, 61 outside broadcast trucks and 375 production vehicles to cover the 1840 commentator positions... Channel 7 will have more than 400 staff covering 28 sports with 10,500 competitors from 221 countries.'

SBS and - I'm assuming - most other networks will also be sending teams as well as the usual diplomatic tourists who seem to conveniently need to visit countries hosting major sporting events.

Let's just look at those numbers a bit. Assuming that a proportion of the 400 C7 staff will be locals (drivers, etc), let's say that Channel 7 were to conservatively fly a total 300 staff with a small proportion flying business or first class.

Numbers for return flights from Sydney to Beijing (see Carbon Planet) are as follows:
  • 250 Economy Class: 1420.3 tonnes CO2

  • 40 Business Class: 454.5 tonnes tonnes CO2

  • 10 First Class: 170.4 tonnes tonnes CO2

That would give an approximate total of 2000 tonnes of CO2 for the flights alone. It also assumes that people will do ONE flight there and ONE back rather than bunny hopping around on domestic flights ie. to Hong Kong where some events are being held or other regional hubs.

On top of that comes the shipping of equipment and running costs whilst there which are impossible for me to guess at.

2000 tonnes is such a foreign number so it's easier to do some 'comparisons'.

It equates to 6.66 tonnes per person which is just over 24% of the YEARLY average for an Australian (source: Carbon Planet) or - here we go - 2.5 times the yearly average for a person in China or close to 5 times the yearly average for a person in India.

Something to make you think...

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