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A cheerful Thanksgiving day excuse to skip the soda and uncork a beer.
Enjoy, Nathan
Q. You've investigated whether human belching contributes to global warming. Does it?
A. It actually might. After reading about how many billions of gallons of carbonated beverages are consumed in this country every year, I asked myself what happens to all of that carbon dioxide. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Some of the carbon dioxide goes directly into the atmosphere from the opened containers, and the rest must be either breathed or belched out by the drinkers.

I found out the pressure it takes to fill all these bottles and cans, and calculated how much carbon dioxide would be equivalent to that pressure. It turned out to be about 800,000 tons.
Q. Don't your calculations assume that the gas is all brand new CO2 that has been specifically manufactured for the carbonated drinks?
A. I made rough corrections for that. If the gas was made by heating limestone, which much carbon dioxide is, then it's brand new in the atmosphere. But in alcoholic beverages like beer, the CO2 comes from the fermentation of grains, which took the carbon dioxide originally from the atmosphere by photosynthesis, so it doesn't count as brand new. And some of the CO2 in soda pop is obtained from the air, so it gets pretty complicated. All in all, carbonated beverages don't seem to be much of a threat to the planet.
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