Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Carbon Footprint of Pets

Below, I provide you with a photo of a 7 foot dog. He will play for the LA Clippers this year. This picture got me thinking. I live in Westwood, Los Angeles. Here we have a suburban housing stock but most of the homes have no children living there. Instead, there are some adults and a large number of pets. Economists talk about equivalence scales. What is the carbon footprint of a 7 foot dog? As we introduce carbon pricing, will pet owners face higher food prices? Will this lead them to substitute to smaller pets and I hope these small creatures will create smaller poops left on my private property!

Here is the big dog.

It is true that the pet shares the space of the house, so excluding its food --- its marginal carbon impact is low. But, how much would U.S demand for food go down by if nobody had any pets? How much carbon is produced as a byproduct of making this pet food?