Calculating the emissions of superheroes

A preview image from the all-new Spider-Man comic series entitled Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man.
Image credit: Marvel
Date:24 May 2017 Tags:, ,

Being a superhero is not only dangerous and expensive, but it may also be bad for the environment. Scientist and educator Miles Traer estimates the emissions of superheroes.

By Avery Thompson

When Iron Man is flying around the world in his high-tech suit or Batman is cruising the streets of Gotham, they’re putting a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. They may be stopping the bad guys, but they’re potentially dooming future generations to the destructive effects of climate change at the same time.

But just how bad are superheroes for the environment? To find out, scientist and educator Miles Traer crunched the numbers and calculated each hero’s carbon footprint—the amount of CO2 their crimefighting activities release into the atmosphere each year.

For instance, the Batmobile isn’t exactly a Prius, and Traer estimates that it gets around 8 miles per gallon, which puts it in the same category as military vehicles and luxury sports cars. If Batman drives his car about 20,000 miles in a year—enough for typical superheroics plus the occasional joyride—then Bruce Wayne’s alter ego is pumping around 48,000 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

To put that number into perspective, the average American puts produces 44,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year from all their activities combined. But the Batmobile is far from the least environmentally-friendly superhero accessory.

It costs over 100,000 pounds of CO2 to make a single Iron Man suit, and that’s even before it leaves the ground. Peter Parker emits over 80,000 pounds of CO2 per year making his webs, and the Flash consumes so many calories while running that he is responsible for around 25 million pounds of CO2.

But by far, the biggest source of superhero CO2 emissions is from computers. The Batcomputer, the advanced supercomputer Batman keeps in his basement, emits 87 million pounds of CO2, while Batman’s colleague Oracle runs an entire server farm generating almost a billion pounds of CO2.

All together, these superheros produce more CO2 per year than entire countries, and that can’t be good for the environment. Maybe the villains have it right after all.

Source: Miles Traer

Image credit: Marvel

 

 

 

This article was originally written for and published by Popular Mechanics USA.