The carbon earprint of chainsaws

Yesterday a chap came and took down a dead tree. It was a golden rubinia and there’s a bug getting them.

It took two chaps about 1 1/2 hrs work and cost £160. I wondered what it would have cost not to have had the noise and disturbance of the chainsaw.

He estimated it would have taken them 2/3 of a days work. That is about 5 1/2 hours. So it would have cost about £580. That is £420 more than the actual cost.

Imagine a carbon tax was used to shift us away from noisy chainsaws to wholesome manual labour.

I estimate that the saw ran for about 20 minutes at most. Assume a 3kw motor. So that’s 1kwh. Assume a 33% efficiency to make the numbers easy (its like a power station but small). So it will have used 3kwh of fuel at most. That’s about 750 grammes of CO2.

So 750g of CO2 emissions need to cost £420 to make it worthwhile switching from chainsaws to manual labour. That’s a carbon price of £560,000 per tonne.

I hope there’s something wrong with this calculation. If not, one thing is certain. A low carbon world can have lots of noisy chainsaws (and leaf blowers for that matter). And it won’t necessarily be very quiet. The carbon earprint of sound is far too low for that.

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