There are many totally zany units used in energy – my favourite: the British thermal unit, used by Americans and not by the British- and here is a new one: the blue whale.
It first appears at the Guardian’s website today. They have kicked off a “Keep it in the ground” campaign, aiming to get the Wellcome and Gates Foundations to divest from fossil fuels.
At the bottom of the page is ticker, it tells you how many tonnes of coal have been burned since you opened the pages. Bizarrely, they tell you how many blue whales this would be the weight of. This definitely ranks up there with the worst units in the history of energy. Yes, to put 12,000 tonnes of coal into perspective we will tell you the equivalent weight in a common marine mammal. Of course, it isn’t much worse than measuring oil in barrels, or natural gas in cubic feet.