Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My carbon footprint

The Guardian's Newsblog points to an article in the paper by Mark Lynas, who has written a book, Carbon Counter. In this summary, It's carbon judgment day, Lynas gives us the formula for calculating our own carbon footprints.

Although written for British readers, most of the calculations will work here too. If you heat with gas, as we do, get the total number of kilowatt hours from your gas bill (add up the year) and multiply by .19 then divide by number of people in the house. (Well, that won't work for me since we use propane and just get the number of gallons refilled.) For electricity, multiply annual kilowatt hours by .43.

For people who heat with wood, or supplement their other heat with wood fires, as we also do, there's great news:
There is a degree of local pollution from wood smoke to worry about (it smells nice, but many of the particles in wood smoke are highly carcinogenic), but in terms of greenhouse gases, any effect is countered by the regrowing of the trees that were cut down for the logs in your fire...

(As far as that local pollution, there's a lot more around here winters from people clearing forests for development and burning the limbs in huge bonfires. When will that stop?)

There are figures for transportation use, too, and some additional calculations like shopping habits. If you're really good:
I mostly grow my own organic food, shop locally, reuse and recyle, and wouldn't touch out-of-season green beans with a bargepole: add 600kg.

I hope my total doesn't come out in this range:
G 18,000-21,000kg You live like an American.



  • Believe it or not, the BP Website has a carbon footprint calculator. I did mine tonight and came up with 6...a lot less than the 18 the average American creates. But then, I live in a small NYC apartment, don't own a car, rarely fly, use public transportation and recycle like a mad fiend.

    By Blogger Jade, at 6:14 AM  

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