June 10, 2009

Scientists urged to cut carbon emissions

A Canadian scientist says those who study climate change must be careful to reduce their own carbon footprints.

University of Calgary postdoctoral fellow Ryan Brook is urging scientists to examine and share ways to reduce the impact of working in polar regions.

Brook regularly flies north to study the health and anatomy of caribou herds in Nunavut and Northwest Territories. The research typically takes him north five or six times each year and when he calculated his own carbon footprint, he was not happy with the result.

My research footprint is about the same as the annual footprint of an average Toronto resident, he said. "Basically, I have two footprints -- my own personal life, which is moderate, and my research footprint.

The total footprint of all scientists is small, but it's important to critically evaluate how we can reduce our footprint from research activities, he said.

He reports his work in the June issue of Arctic, the journal of the University of Calgary's Arctic Institute of North America.