Calculating the Carbon Cost of Clinton’s 55,000 pages of Emails

Printing Hillary Clinton’s 55,000 pages of emails emitted nearly 40,000 pounds of greenhouse gases, about as much as the average American produces in one year. Clinton’s extravagant print job comes less than six months after her stump speech to national environmentalist groups about the urgent need for reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, following in the long line of Obama Administration transparency issues, has finally released at least a partial record of her emails to the State Department. Clinton had previously kept the emails on a homebrew email server, thus avoiding both government email security measures and FOIA requests. This may also violate federal law if any matters that were deemed “Classified” or “Sensitive But Unclassified” were sent to her email – or if she sent any sensitive emails.

Unfortunately, the incomplete emails the Clinton camp released were actually physically printed, using over 55,000 pieces of paper and making it more difficult for investigators to search through them. Though many older politicians may find modern technology like PDFs, email, and flash drives befuddling, we imagine leftist politicos like Hillary Clinton would at least understand the environmental consequences of their actions. To that end, we’ve done a rough calculation of just how much CO2 the Clintons’ released by printing out tens of thousands of emails.

A study from Print Greener, a software company that strives to eliminate wasted paper, ink, and energy, estimated the GHG emissions of printing in a 2008 study:

Based on the pilot results, Savills could significantly reduce its carbon footprint by using GreenPrint. In one year it would save over 259 million pages. The equivalent environmental impact is shown in Figure 832:

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Using this ratio of 186 million pounds of GHG’s for 259 million pages (about 0.71 lbs per page), Hillary’s “disclosure” of her emails created nearly 38,824 pounds of greenhouse gasses (according to Print Greener’s assumptions) or 17.6 metric tons, compared to the average American’s 17.6 metric tons.

It is difficult to take claims by Hillary that greenhouse gas emissions are a priority very seriously when she prints emails instead of just making them into PDFs or other electronic formats.

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