The Carbon Flip Rule

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nep By nep

Last night at the Captain's meeting, Art said the rule was basically this:

* The team arriving with the fewest motorized vehicles wins the flip.

Scooters and electric bicycles were considered vehicles, but taking the bus was not.

The home page of this site, though, says "Quite simply, you arrive at the fields in fewer gas-powered vehicles than your opposition." Leaving me to wonder about electric cars and bikes, also, what about bio-diesel (and no, I'm not just raising objections, one of my players has a van that runs on grease).

What's the actual rule? I'm in favor of a simple count-the-vehicles rule.

The rule will be clarified on the Rules page by tomorrow (and I'll post here).

Art and I need to discuss these fine points, but we'll likely end up with language like "the fewest fossil-fuel powered personal vehicles".

Would/should hybrids count as 1/2?

How about add up the cc's of the fossil-fuel components?

Surely two scooters should count more positively than showing up in a 6.6 litre 1986 Trans Am.
(... but of course, we know which looks cooler.)

Anyone arriving in a bio-diesel fueled vehicle should be counted as 5 gas fueled vehicles! Full cost accounting of bio-diesel doesn't equate to fewer carbon emissions if you factor in farm land and processing. 'Specially if you're using B5 which, really, shouldn't get you any props with the carbon flip.

If, on the other hand, said biodiesel is comprised entirely of 'waste' products (restaurant grease or equiv) then, fine, it can be considered a 'non fossil fuel'. (B100 only).

We should develop a full cost accounting spreadsheet of all the possible commuter options and evaluate them from cradle to cradle!


Your Friendly Sustainability Nerd.


What if your team bands together to purchase high quality carbon offsets?? I think that should guarantee first possession! Just sayin...

okay, I'll stop now.

And merely the number of vehicles/amount of carbon should not be the deciding factor.

A team that fields 7 players, but brought 7 vehicles should not win out over a team that fields
14 people and brings 8 vehicles, or even 13 vehicles.

We need a formula which calculates carbon footprint per person. Perhaps this would be a good
use for a VUL grant.

/ Tongue in cheek.
// Kinda.

What if only one vehicle is used, but has to make 8 trips back and forth to the field? And what if seven cars are used, but everyone comes from within a 5 km radius, compared to commuters from the 'burbs carpool but drive significantly further?

This is going to get ridiculously complicated if we actually try to address the issue at its heart, but it's a good idea nonetheless.

"What if only one vehicle is used, but has to make 8 trips back and forth to the field? And
what if seven cars are used, but everyone comes from within a 5 km radius, compared to
commuters from the 'burbs carpool but drive significantly further?"

Damn good points.

And while we're on Carbon Footprints. Shouldn't the number of offspring be hugely weighted


Seriously though. I was on two teams this Summer and I think I only heard a captain talk
about the carbon flip twice. It would be great to somehow incorporate the number of
vehicles (or whatever) into the scoring/spirit questionnaire. If it were tracked and perhaps
beer was awarded, maybe more people would actually think about it. It's sad to think that
people might carpool all year to win an $80 pony keg, but won't do it for the planet. Sad, but
probably true.

You'd have to find a way to prevent lying on the form though. Not sure if that's possible.

It's a pity no one has suggested teleporting to games...

Seriously, the rule is meant to be simple. Gas-powered (fossil-fueled) vehicles driven by our players count as 1. Vehicles that are self-powered, or mass transit vehicles used, count as zero. (I guess that means that you have to pedal your electric bike as you approach the field for it to qualify as a 0.)

We clearly discussed at the captains' meeting that this rule will need some refinements after the first season, but until then, let's keep it as simple as possible. (No ratios, no decimal points, no formulae...)

As with virtually any rule that we follow, it is possible for someone to circumvent it. I will trust that our team captains and their players will be spirited in approaching the Carbon Flip.


"It's a pity no one has suggested teleporting to games..."

Way too energy inefficient.

"Matthew Visser of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, estimates that the amount
of negative energy needed to open up a one-meter-wide wormhole would be comparable to
the mass of Jupiter, except that it would be negative. He says, “You need about minus-one
Jupiter mass to do the job.""


nep By nep

I think if you show up with 14 people and the other team has 7, you ALREADY have a big advantage, and the flip isn't going to be the deciding factor. The simplicity of the rule (driver = 1, no driver = 0) may be more important than the nitty gritty of the environmental result. Besides, if we get 70% participation in a complex rule, and 90% participation in a simple rule, which is better for the environment?

On the other hand, I kind of hate that the game is influenced by this (admirable but unarguably political) external agenda. What next: winning the flip based on gross charitable donations that week, or the number of vegetarians on your side, or amount of time spent volunteering at non-profits, or working for the Green party or...? I kind of think the game is the game, and whatever your team members do off the field, shouldn't affect how the game might turn out.

Anyway -- would love to see this clarified in the rules, and when will we be tracking it in the score reporting?