Carbon Cap and Trade for Fido?

Richard Henry Lee
There is a serious shortcoming in Obama's global warming initiative since pets are excluded as a significant source of greenhouse gasses.  In the EPA's recently released CO2 initiative, there is no mention of dogs, cats or other pets as CO2 polluters. There are the usual culprits such as cement makers, refineries and chemical manufacturers, but dogs and cats are nowhere to be found.

This is a serious omission since our pets contribute significantly to global warming. There are estimates that there are 90 million cats and 73 million dogs in the US and the pet food they eat is loaded with meat, poultry, fish and grain which all require heavy emissions of CO2 to put the food in their dish. Then there are the petroleum based plastic dishes and other pet paraphernalia such as mutt mitts which all contribute. And don't forget the trips to the veterinarian where we need to include the carbon footprints of the office and professional staff along with the expensive, polluting SUV's those veterinarians drive.

There is an estimate that each dog's carbon paw print is 1.75 metric tons of CO2 annually and cats about half a metric ton. By doing the math, this means that dogs contribute about 128 million metric tons of CO2 and cats another 45 million for a total of 173 million metric tons. This is slightly more than half the 314 million metric tons CO2 that our personal vehicles release annually.

To remedy this oversight, we need a grass roots effort to start a cap and trade program for pets. To start, there should be a federal tax on pets based upon their carbon paw prints. In addition, pets who received large inheritances, like the $12 million that Leona Helmsley's dog received, should pay a much higher tax so that the government could redistribute the wealth to less fortunate pets.

Finally, the taxes received should be used to fund research into developing sustainable pets to replace our heavily polluting dogs and cats. Perhaps a solar powered robotic pet might be the answer.
There is a serious shortcoming in Obama's global warming initiative since pets are excluded as a significant source of greenhouse gasses.  In the EPA's recently released CO2 initiative, there is no mention of dogs, cats or other pets as CO2 polluters. There are the usual culprits such as cement makers, refineries and chemical manufacturers, but dogs and cats are nowhere to be found.

This is a serious omission since our pets contribute significantly to global warming. There are estimates that there are 90 million cats and 73 million dogs in the US and the pet food they eat is loaded with meat, poultry, fish and grain which all require heavy emissions of CO2 to put the food in their dish. Then there are the petroleum based plastic dishes and other pet paraphernalia such as mutt mitts which all contribute. And don't forget the trips to the veterinarian where we need to include the carbon footprints of the office and professional staff along with the expensive, polluting SUV's those veterinarians drive.

There is an estimate that each dog's carbon paw print is 1.75 metric tons of CO2 annually and cats about half a metric ton. By doing the math, this means that dogs contribute about 128 million metric tons of CO2 and cats another 45 million for a total of 173 million metric tons. This is slightly more than half the 314 million metric tons CO2 that our personal vehicles release annually.

To remedy this oversight, we need a grass roots effort to start a cap and trade program for pets. To start, there should be a federal tax on pets based upon their carbon paw prints. In addition, pets who received large inheritances, like the $12 million that Leona Helmsley's dog received, should pay a much higher tax so that the government could redistribute the wealth to less fortunate pets.

Finally, the taxes received should be used to fund research into developing sustainable pets to replace our heavily polluting dogs and cats. Perhaps a solar powered robotic pet might be the answer.