And Then What?

Coke has a billboard covered in some kind of plants that it claims absorbs 46,800 pounds of CO2 a year.  Forgetting for a moment whether we should care about CO2 abatement, I have a question for Coke:  What are you going to do with the plants after you take down the billboard and/or after they die?  Are you going to shrink-wrap them and bury them deep?  Because otherwise, when they die, they are just going to give up the carbon back to the atmosphere as they decompose.  If you really want to abate carbon with plant growth, go build some wood-frame houses.

Update: Incredibly, as the 13th commenter on the linked post, I was the very first who did not think this was an awesome step for the environment.


  1. GoneWithTheWind:

    Don't be silly! They mean well and that's all that counts. It's not as though this whole carbon thingy is real after all. You do realize this is about stealing money and power. So what difference does it make. Don't make waves. Especially with the oceans rising LOL!!

  2. me:

    Christ. The entire CO2 credit thing is so abysmally absurd. So, someone is going to certify that some action has some specific impact on something unmeasurable and we're all going to be required to exchange real currency for it? Where else did that go insanely well lately? Oh, I recall, the housing market went way up on the same premises...

  3. Chaffnz:

    No, whats incredible is that people actually disagree with the comment made by you (duh, carbon cycle WM I mean come..... on..... The other amusing statement is that the C02 in soda 'isn't the same' as smog. I think we'd all be applauding coke if they had created plants that took smog out of the atmosphere, instead of just being killed by it.

  4. Shane:

    LOL!!!! Warren go back and read some of the replies to your post ... ahhh ignorance hiding behind a keyboard is bliss :)

  5. jon spencer:

    What are they going to do about the bubbles in Coke?

  6. BlogDog:

    If I kill over 100,000 people, how much do I get in carbon credits?

  7. caseyboy:

    Hey Me, Don't worry your "real currency" is becoming as worthless as the carbon credits you could buy. Probably a fair exchange if you think about it.

  8. DrTorch:

    What about the reality check that you mentioned some weeks back?

    13 lbs/ year? Really? Maybe. But thinking through it aren't many 13 lb plants around, and even when there are, it was a typical freshman chemistry expirment when I was a TA that showed veggies were 97% water. That doesn't leave much carbon left.

    It also means that the billboard (and the recycled coke bottle pots) will be supporting 1.5M lbs of plant weight. Is that reasonable?

  9. steve:

    Coke may actually understand your point. Heck, they may not even believe in AGW. All they have to believe in to justify their actions is the power of advertising.

  10. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    >> Update: Incredibly, as the 13th commenter

    Clearly, what Coke plans to do is recycle the plants and use them to carbonate their soda.

    Like, DUH...

  11. Dr. T:

    "absorbs 46,800 pounds of CO2 a year"

    Plants use solar energy to combine CO2 and H2O into carbohydrates and cellulose. Assuming that half of the carbon is used as an energy source, that one-quarter is converted to cellulose (C6-H10-O5), and that the plant composition is only 50% water, the plants would increase in mass by approximately ten tons per year. That must be a very large, very sturdy billboard.

  12. drB:


    Please see this about Gengiz Khan and carbon footprints:

  13. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    ACK -- 6 hours ago in reply to JH
    I read through most of the comments and noticed that nobody asked how much CO2 is released every time you open a can or bottle of Coke?
    KB -- 6 hours ago in reply to ACK
    H2CO3 => H2O + CO2 (aka carbonated drink).

    So yes, Coca Cola is hiding the fact that their flag ship product release CO2.
    obloodyhell 0 minutes ago in reply to KB

    OK, and, exactly, where does this CO2 come from in the first place, geeeenyus?

    Do they make it specifically in order to place it there, or, as anyone would guess, do they pull it out of the atmosphere, and sequester it in bottles like a good little Green company, until you, you filthy anti-environmental scum, release it back into the air??!!!


    Clearly, if you were TRULY a Green you should be buying Coke, and leaving it in a cool, dark place to store for all eternity.

    And YES, you MUST keep buying it, as only if you do that, will Coke be able to afford to keep sequestering it for your own personal storage.

  14. Gil:

    So H2C03 falls apparts into two greenhouses gases - how embarrassing.

  15. Gil:

    . . . fall apart into . . . :(

  16. Gil:

    On the other hand, IgotBupkis, you simply stated the problem that of the past two centuries - taking large amounts of carbon that has been stored in the Earth's crust for aeons and putting it back into the atmosphere.

  17. Griffin3:

    From my home carbonation efforts (in an attempt to get flavors of soda other than the same boring five), I found that you actually want seven volumes of carbon dioxide in each volume of water. Makes a two liter bottle more fizzy than canned, but it loses CO2 everytime you open the bottle, and averages out at the end. So, assume standard temp and pressure, round some numbers, and you get ... 15g of CO2 in a two liter bottle. Not a very efficient way to sequester CO2, but still refreshing and tasty.

  18. j greer:

    Build a wood frame house.....Doesnt the tree give up the carbon when its cut down and cut up???

  19. MikeinAppalachia:

    Nope-not until it degrades (rots) into methane (mostly).

  20. Dr. T:

    Doesnt the tree give up the carbon when its cut down and cut up???

    The carbon is tied up in cellulose, the major component of wood. If wood decomposes chemically, the carbon ends up as methane (as MikeinAppalachia noted). However, wood can be digested by animals and microscopic organisms. Those critters can convert the carbon in cellose back to CO2 to be absorbed by another photosynthetic plant.

  21. Chaffnz:

    Zomg there are even ignorant statements being posted on this site! That's what drives me nuts about earning carbon credits by planting trees on your land in NZ. Even if you prove when you chop them down they are going to house, or alternatively you buried them in the ground, you still pay your money back. Chopping down old slow growing trees, storing em and planting more fast growing carbon fixing ones should earn you far more!

  22. Joseph Hertzlinger:

    One of the people replying mentioned biochar (turning the plant material into charcoal and burying it). I intend to my part to save the Planet by overcooking something and throwing it in the garbage.