CIVL 250

Week 1 Quiz

Updated 2019-05-12

Question 1

It is very common to measure the carbon footprint simply as the tonnes of atmospheric Green House Gases (GHGs) emitted into the atmosphere by a particular activity or organization. In this case, the unit of measure is

tons CO2e

Question 2

Please provide your working definition of sustainability. Make sure your definition is informed by what you have learning in CIVL 250 so far.

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs.

Question 3

An Ecological Footprint is:

The amount of productive land (and sea) needed to support a given human population.

Question 4

In terms of climate warming potential, 34 kgs of atmospheric CH4 is equivalent to how many kgs of atmospheric CO2.

34×21=714 kgs

Question 5

Which of the following is a primary driver of sustainable development?

:heavy_check_mark: Decreasing global biodiversity.

:heavy_check_mark: Increasing global per-person material consumption rate.

:heavy_check_mark: Increasing global population growth.

:heavy_check_mark: Global climate change.

Question 6

The current available global biocapacity is approximately:

1.7 global hectares per person.

Question 7

Which of the following describe the terms in the IPAT equation?

Question 8

The Paris Agreement refers to “NDCs”, which is an abbreviation of “Nationally Determined Contributions”


Question 9

What role does poverty play in terms of its influence on a peoples’ vulnerability to climate change impacts?

Poverty hinders people’s health, wealth and happiness. The lack of health and wealth will divert people’s attention to short term survival instead of long germ climate change impacts. Without wealth, people are not incentivized to invest in clean energy and newer technologies.

Question 10

Which of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) do you think are most relevant to your future engineering practice?

Omitted because it’s personal opinion.

Question 11

Immediately after earning their Professional Engineering designation, Irfan and Tom went into the solar panel business together. They were approached by Winnie, a potential client, who shared with them a competitor’s quote for building her solar collection project. Winnie told Tom and Irfan that she would hire them if they could complete her project for less money that their competitor. Irfan and Tom did some calculations and agreed to do the work for less than their competitor’s quote.

In accepting Winnie’s proposal, Tom and Irfan contravened the Engineer’s Code of Ethics.


Principle 5 of the code states:

uphold the principle of appropriate and adequate compensation for the performance of engineering and geoscience work.

The violated guidelines are:

Question 12

Kevin Okuda is the engineering manager for the the B.C. transportation commission, with a primary responsibility for highway road safety. At least 1 person has died along a given stretch of road each of the last 7 years by crashing into a roadside tree. Many other crashes have occurred. Two law suits were filed regarding the unsafe segment of the road, but were dismissed because the drivers were exceeding the 80 kmph speed limit. A recommendation to widen the road will result in cutting down about 30 mature trees. Environmental groups protest, and file a petition signed by 150 people to save the trees. Public debate falls on both sides of the issue.

Keep the Trees:

Reduce speed limit:

Question 13

In an argumentative discourse, the validity of an idea is explored via:

Providing justification

Question 14

Analyze the following article for its primary claims.

Homer-Dixon, T. (2009). “The Newest Science: Replacing Physics, Ecology will be the next Master Science of the 21st Century

Describe a primary claim made by Homer-Dixon in his article.

The focus of scientific research and innovation shifts over time as technology and understanding of the world progresses. It is time now that we focus on the ecology and sustainability as it has been largely ignored and now we will suffer the consequences.

Question 15

What are three key outcomes from COP21, which took place in December 2015?

Question 16

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average passenger car in the US emits exhaust with the following approximate components:

Methane and other hydrocarbons = 1.75g/km

Carbon monoxide = 13.06 g/km

Nitrogen oxides = 0.87 g/km

Carbon dioxide = 258g/km

Pricilla P. Eng is a 2nd year engineering student who lives with her parents and drives her father’s car to UBC five days per week, for six months (i.e. 2 three month terms). The distance between her parent’s house and UBC is about 15 kms.

Estimate Pricilla’s carbon footprint (in kg CO2e) due to her transportation to and from UBC during her 2nd year of study.

The monthly total travel distance is 15kms×2 trips per day×5 days per week×24 weeks, which is 3600km. We multiply this with grams per km for each emitted gas.

Methane: 6.3kg or 132.3kg CO2e.

Carbon monoxide: 47.0kg or 0kg CO2e because CO is not a GHG.

Nitrogen dioxide: 3.132kg or 970.92kg CO2e.

Carbon dioxide: 928.8kg or 928.8kg CO2e.

Total of 2,032kg CO2e.

Question 17

Roughly how many tons of material does a modern European family use each year?