By: Nikita Kochhar
December 22 2021
The rocket fuel combined liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Primary emissions were water, minor combustion products, and "virtually no CO2" as per experts.
The rocket fuel combined liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Primary emissions were water, minor combustion products, and "virtually no CO2" as per experts.A claim on social media states that carbon emissions from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' spaceship are equal to a lifetime's worth of emissions for the world's poorest. The post reads, "Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest man on earth who loves to preach to the rest of us about the need to lower our carbon footprint, just created a carbon footprint equal to the yearly output of small African nations; on a vanity trip to space." The post encapsulated the unequal distribution between those who cause climate damage and those who suffer from it. The claim stemmed from a passage from this year's World Inequality Report. It read, "An 11-minute flight emits no fewer than 75 tonnes of carbon per passenger once indirect emissions are taken into account (and more likely, in the 250-1,000 tonnes range). At the other end of the distribution, about one billion individuals emit less than one tonne per person per year. Over their lifetime, this group of one billion individuals does not emit more than 75 tonnes of carbon per person." According to a report in the USA Today, rockets burn a tremendous amount of fuel to take off, can emit carbon dioxide, along with other pollutants like soot and nitrous gases. Considering carbon dioxide is the primary source of all greenhouse gases, the most common fuels are carbon-based, like the kerosene used by SpaceX's Falcon rockets. However, somewhat cleaner alternatives exist that produce virtually no carbon dioxide. Blue Origin rocket used a similar fuel, the USA Today report added. It runs on a fuel combining liquid oxygen and hydrogen, which generate tremendous heat and force to launch the rocket. According to a report in Live Science, Bezos' Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket could be among the cleanest launch vehicles. However, even though Blue Origin itself doesn't emit carbon dioxide when burned, it is made through a very carbon-intensive process, Gizmodo reported. Earlier, an Oxfam report claimed that the wealthiest one percent of the world's population was responsible for the emission of more than twice as much CO2 as the poorer half of the world between 1990 to 2015. The report claimed that carbon emissions increased by 60 percent during this time, but the increase in emissions from the wealthiest one percent was three times greater than the increase in emissions from the poorest half. Speaking to Live Science, Darin Toohey, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado, said that the primary emissions from the New Shephard rocket would be "water and some minor combustion products, and virtually no CO2." Thus, the claim that the Carbon footprint from Jeff Bezos' spaceship is similar to a lifetime's worth of emissions for the world's poorest is not true.