Carbon Calculator

Flavorologist's calculations:

Goods by Semi-Truck:

CO2 lbs per pound of cargo by semi-truck:
.0000462 lbs CO2/lb cargo for each mile traveled

one of many mileage distance calculators

example distances and CO2 lbs/lb cargo:
NY to SF: 3000 miles,  .14lbs C02/lb
LA to Seattle: 1200 miles, .06lbs CO2/lb
Orlando to Seattle: 3000 miles, .14lbs C02/lb
NY to Dallas: 1500 miles, .07lbs CO2/lb

Goods by Cargo Ship:

CO2 lbs per pound of cargo by cargo ship:
.0000128 lbs CO2/lb cargo for each nautical mile traveled

nautical mile distance calculator

example distances and CO2 lbs/lb cargo:
Athens Greece to Portland, OR: 13000 nautical miles, .17lbsCO2/lb
Shanghai to LA: 5600 nautical miles, .07lbs lbsCO2/lb

(sources and number crunching)

Shipping giant MAERSK agrees to TRAVEL MORE SLOWLY cutting fuel consumption and CO2 production by up to 30%

Slightly cutting speeds can greatly lower CO2 emmissions:
"simply driving at 55 instead of 65 miles per hour cuts carbon dioxide emissions of American cars by about 20 percent, according to the International Energy Agency."

Note that the new speed of the cargo ships, around 13 knots, is similar to that of high speed wind powered cargo ships that produce ZERO CO2 emissions.  However, wind powered shipping historically employed about 200 times more sailors per payload ton, greatly adding to cost.

What does this mean?

At 20mpg, and 20 lbsCO2/gallon of gas, 1 mile of driving produces about a pound of CO2.

If you live in SF, eating 7 pounds of product from NY is equivalent, in CO2, to driving 1 miles.

However, this only takes into account the transportation of the products. It does not account for the energy costs of raising meat, harvesting vegetables, etc.

(Hauling 2000 pounds in a Chevy truck with 14mpg, is .000693 lbsCO2/lb, 15 times less efficient than the semi-truck; just carrying your own body (200lbs) in a 30mpg car is 70 times less efficient than the semi-truck, no wonder buses were invented!)

Other Carbon Calculators that include a food section:

The Nature Conservancy

Food service (Bon Appétite)

Eating Green, Count Down Your Carbon

Redefining Progress,