Vocativ Puts Rockefeller Center on the Naughty List

Thanks to the carbon footprint of 45,000+ LED Christmas tree lights.

Not too many people are going to be stuck in the back of a New York taxi for six solid years. However, a round trip flight between New York and Los Angeles is in the cards for many of us, and for those who happen to make that trip this holiday season, there’s now one more worrisome bit of information to deal with.

According to Vocativ science reporter Joshua A. Krisch and visual data specialist and designer Kaitlyn Kelly, the lights on the Rockefeller Christmas tree emit as much carbon as that jetliner trajectory (and that keep-the-meter-running-until-my-kid-graduates cab ride). Not exactly the stuff of Kris Kringle and Macy’s, is it? More like Nightmare on 50th Street:

To be fair, the Rockefeller Center has done what it can to reduce the tree’s carbon footprint. In 2007 the Rockefeller Center switched its Christmas lights from incandescent bulbs to far more energy efficient LEDs and fitted the building with solar panels to help create a more efficient tree. But solar panels can only do so much (their solar generator can produce only about 70 kilowatts of energy) and the NYC grid is responsible for making up the difference, via power plants that produce a whole lot of carbon.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony turned 83 this year. Since 2006, property owner Tishman Speyer has been making sure that the tree is cut up each year after the holiday season and the resulting treated lumber donated to Habitat for Humanity. Check out the Vocatic infographics here.

[Image via: rockefellercenter.com]