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Colas emit greenhouse gases! April 29, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Musings.

OK, the title is a little dig at the hyperbole surrounding global warming. I believe in it, unlike our immediate-past president, and think we need big changes to slow it down (but I think the inertia of decades of not recognizing it and dealing with it will take thirty or forty years to slow to an acceptable level – but those points  are for another posts).

Due to such seemingly overwhelming interest in my beverage habits I continue with this theme. I am a soda drinker – colas and other carbonated drinks, except for carbonated water, which tastes awful to me.

Since I have that inherited sensitivity to bitter tastes, artificially sweetened drinks generally taste bad. If they do not have a bitter tasting sweetener, then they taste flat. I like the sugary flavor, a politically incorrect preference, but blame my childrood in the unenlightened 60s.

I greatly prefer Coke over Pepsi. Maybe it is a Southern thing since Coke has been dominant in the South for a hundred years. That would also explain the secondary liking for RC cola. But sans moonpies, those are eaten with milk, thank you.

I like the various flavored Cokes – cherry, vanilla, lime. I wish they still had the lime one. These remind me of the real soda fountain in the one drugstore in the nearest town to where I grew up. You could order a Coke and the jerk would add a dollop of flavored syrup if you asked.

Having helped set up Coke machines, as well as touring the headquarters in Atlanta, I know that Coke out of the can or bottle is over-carbonated. The formulation is aimed at being poured into a glass full of ice and fizzing away a lot of that carbonation. So I swirl an opened can to get rid of some of the gas or mix up a capped bottle and vent off the gas.

I like Dr. Pepper, even if it is from Texas. I miss the 10-2-4 slogan. It had tradition. I also like Crush (or its equivalent brands), having grown up on Nehi. Orange and pineapple are my favorites, with an occasional grape for varieties sake, but am not too keen on the strawberry.

A&W root beer is my preference for that flavor and their creme soda is pretty awesome, too. It must be the touch of honey in it.



1. organikchemist - April 29, 2009

So, do you buy the whole “humans screwed the environment all by themselves, nature would never cycle like this!” idea? Personally, I think industrialization has done some harm, but I also think that there is a “natural cycle” component to global warming.

2. fetzthechemist - April 29, 2009

I do not think there is evidence proving or disproving a sole causality, but I think carbon dioxide emissions have had a significant effect. We burned coal pretty heavily in an era where we did not know anything about the Arctic or Antarctic, those were explored only in the twentieth century in ways that would be yseful in assessing. But the masses of other gases, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, chlorofluorocarbons, et cetera, have effects, too.

The cycles have been great in the past and we do not understand their origins, so ascribing this change in the cycles still leave us with warming, shrinking ice caps, rising oceans. Greenhouse gases have some effect at the levels we add to the atmosphere. If we cannot change the Earth’s orbit around the Sun or the Solar System’s movement through interstellar space or other hypothese about the cycles, we ought to do something about what we can affect.

Personally, it means my home will be nearer to San Francisco Bay. It is currently a half mile away, but fifty feet lower, so the coast will be halfway up the street rather than where it is now.

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