Calculating emissions – tools for Individuals
There are plenty of carbon calculators available online. There is also wide variation between their usefulness and capabilities. Often this is because they are measuring different parameters. Some, for example, factor in only a few possible culprits, like cars, aircraft and household energy use. Others cast their nets wider, covering household waste or leisure interests as well. Enter “climate footprint” into a well-known search engine, and it comes up with a range of answers which are possibly not exactly what you are looking for. The fi rst, from the highly-reputable World Resources Institute turns out to be a carbon footprint calculator – not as comprehensive as you may be wanting if you are going to assess your entire GHG emissions, although it does offer you the chance to use it even if you do not live in North America.
More appealing at fi rst sight is the Lifestyle Climate Footprint Calculator from the University of California’s Berkeley Institute of the Environment. But this, too, deals only in carbon dioxide, and is for US users alone. Searches for methane and nitrous oxide calculators designed for general use produce no results. So for now it is a question of starting by working out simply what your CO2 emissions are: no doubt there will be more comprehensive calculators available soon
Beyond calculating and all over the world
Another helpful site for individuals is provided by the fossil fuel multinational BP. It covers relatively few countries, but they do include China and South Africa. You can pass your cursor over various on-screen icons and find information about ways to reduce your carbon emissions. There are three main areas: At Home, In the Store, and On the Road. The At Home info-icons include renewables, lighting, domestic appliances like fridges, home insulation, heating and cooling, energy-effi ciency and recycling. In the Store offers advice on seasonal sense, local logic, packaging principles and recycling reason (“In many cases, products made from recycled materi-als require less energy to produce compared with those made from original materials. For example, it can take almost 75 per cent less energy to make
items from recycled steel than it does from new steel.”)
It is often hard to fi nd a calculator that offers to work out the footprint of anyone who does not live in North America, Western Europe or somewhere
60 KICK THE HABIT THE CYCLE – COUNT AND ANALYSE