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Our Daily Bleg: How Much Does Ice-Making Contribute to Global Warming?

Photo: iStockphoto

A reader who works as a research scientist but wishes his name to be kept anonymous — “to avoid any hate mail coming my way” — writes in with a fervent couple of questions.

Being from Europe I have always wondered why Americans drink so much soda. Given the associated health risks, which has been discussed on your website and many others, it just seems ludicrous. Besides this obvious question and the associated health care costs, I was wondering how much energy is actually being wasted each year by making all the ice being added to the sodas. Could you estimate how many metric tons of carbon dioxide are being senselessly generated for making the ice which is added to the beverages which are eroding public health and public funds?

Anyone out there who can tell our curious, timid scientist a) why Americans drink so much soda; and b) how environmentally-unfriendly all that ice is? Back-of-the-envelope calculations welcome.