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Historical Carbon Emissions From Dragons In Middle Earth 69

An anonymous reader writes "The climate of Middle Earth has recently been under the spotlight, with the current and future climate of Middle Earth simulated using the HadCM3L General Circulation Model. However, to the best of our knowledge, there has been little work investigating the historical carbon emissions of Middle Earth. Specifically, what impact has the demise of dragons had on carbon emissions? To shed some light on this question, we start by considering the carbon footprint of the antagonist, Smaug." Smaug is surprisingly environmentally friendly.
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Historical Carbon Emissions From Dragons In Middle Earth

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  • by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @02:23PM (#46102051)

    Of course the dying off of dragons will result in a reduction of Smaug.

  • Carbon footprints (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Of course, the eruption of Mount Doom should offset most or all of the reduced carbon emissions from dragons.

    • There's also that thing about massive deforestation, and the amount of methane coming of giant beasts, both alive and decomposing.

      What's the carbon footprint of that massive wedding anyway? Kings are really a climate nuisance!

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Don't dragons turn to stone when they die, or is that only trolls? If so, they shouldn't yield much methane when they die. And the internal temperature makes the emission of methane while they are alive unlikely. They are, of course, responsible for massive deforestation.

        As from a massive wedding, that is really minor. All the animals (including people) that were contributing to it's carbon footprint would have been alive anyway. Of course there's the travel mileage on horseback, but that's less than a

  • Methane (Score:4, Funny)

    by nherm ( 889807 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @02:36PM (#46102217) Journal

    I'm far more concerned about the emission of methane gas by dragons []

    • I don't believe that meat eaters are as flatulent as herbivores. Not to mention that the saurians spend a lot of time sleeping, conserving energy, instead of running frantically about 365 days out of each year, searching for another meal.

    • They'll erupt from both ends!!!!
  • by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @02:37PM (#46102237) Homepage

    Of course. He keeps the dwarf population in check, whose excessive mining wreaks havoc on the environment.

  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @02:58PM (#46102509)

    Replace the denizens of an entire city with a single creature - check. Single creature spends most of it's time lounging about and doing nothing - check. Single creature reuses the work product of others instead of making their own emissions - check. Single creature eats far less than an entire city - check.

    It's a no brainier - Smaug is good for the environment.

    • Single creature eats far less than an entire city - check.

      I thought that the whole problem with dragons is that they do tend to eat an entire city...

  • Some dragons are herbivores, so they eat lower parts of the food chain.

    It's really the dragon burps from those that we should be worried about.

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      How do you think dragons breathe fire? They light their belches on fire.

      We just have to hope that there aren't any herbivorous dragons that eat beans.

  • Excuse me but (Score:4, Informative)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @03:06PM (#46102609)

    Middle Earth runs by Magic not science

    • by Reapy ( 688651 )

      Magic is science we don't understand yet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!

      • --Agatha Heterodyne []

        I don't know if she was the first source for this, but it's a fun series to follow, for those who don't know :-)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I think it was Arthur C. Clark who first said "Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic"

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I think it was Arthur C Clarke who was first credited to that saying.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In a world with magic, magic just becomes another thing to be studied by science.

    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science.
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Middle Earth runs by Magic not science

      Magic has a carbon footprint. Why do you think Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo, and later Sam had to leave on the elven ships bound for the undying lands?

      If not for Magic's carbon footprint, the eruption of the Supervolcano at mount doom, should have brought nuclear winter upon the shire and all of middle earth, for sure.

  • I'm surprised Middle Earth isn't in a constant Ice Age with Mt. Doom erupting all the time.

    Volcanic Winter []
    • by Anonymous Coward

      There are volcanoes on earth that erupt continuously.
      Those aren't actually much of a problem.
      It's mostly the volcanoes that erupt explosively that cause volcanic winter.
      That's because when a volcano explodes, rather than just bubbling out lava day after day, large amounts of rock and ash are distributed into the atmosphere.

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @03:23PM (#46102779)


    It's interesting that all were slain by Men, while the only ones who killed Balrogs were Elves or Maiar. In the original Gondolin myth the dragons were actually mechanical and basically giant troop transports, again highlighting the pastoral and anti-industrial themes in a lot of JRRTs work. Dragons were noisy, mechanical, destructive things, part of the mortal world of Men, while Balrogs were basically demons, part of the immortal world (Heaven/Hell).

  • if dragons only eat other creatures and plants, they are carbon neutral

    if dragons insult Santa Claus to obtain and eat coal, like the ones in Johnny Hart's Wizard of ID, then yes they are a carbon source

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly