RUDOLPH and his flatulent reindeer pals will have ’emitted’ 22 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in the UK alone last night (Christmas Eve).
According to researchers Santa’s team of reindeer burped and ‘passed’ the equivalent of 22 tonnes of CO2 as they flew over the country.
Professor Phil Garnsworthy, from the University of Nottingham, has calculated Santa covered 419,000 kilometres as he travelled around the UK.
A similar figure is thought to be applicable to Spain, which, although it has fewer households, has more distance to cover. It also has to deal with the Three Kings and their ‘windy’ camels contributing to the climate crisis when they visit for Epiphany.
After analysing the reindeer diet of lichen along with the energy content and density of methane, Garnsworthy found emissions for each reindeer will be 0.207g/km.
But methane is 28 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, so as a result, each reindeer will emit 5.8g/km of CO2-equivalent as they make their way around the UK – meaning Santa’s fleet of nine reindeer will be emitting 52g/km of CO2 equivalent overall.
This is slightly more than the 44g/km CO2 emitted by a typical plug-in hybrid, but less than a third of a typical petrol or diesel delivery van (158.4g/km), however the sleigh would still be classed as a low emission vehicle by the government.
If the treasury is interested in Santa’s transport, he’d face an annual £15 tax bill from the government based on emissions.
Professor Garnsworthy, who conducted the study to publicise Fiat’s E-Ducato electric van, said: “Rudolph, Vixen, Dasher and co had a very busy night of work and the methane they emitted, while considerably more potent than CO2, is respectable considering the work they did.
“They’re a lot more efficient than your average diesel van and they wouldn’t be subject to any congestion charges, but the sleigh they power is still a fair way off being zero emission.”