My carbon footprint last year

[part of a series of posts on my carbon footprint:]

Although having previously measured and taken action to reduce my ecological footprint, I have only recently started measuring my carbon ‘cloud’/footprint recently. Last year, the headline figures were:

  • Home, heat, transport = 2127kg

  • Flights = 16821.84kg

  • Food = 584.9kg

  • TOTAL= 19533kg = 19.53tonnes of CO2 (not C, CO2)

I used methods, assumptions and conversation factors that were cross-checked with all of ActOnCO2 (UK citizen-oriented website), Resurgence (very thorough), and CRAG -recommended methods.

This total is twice the UK average (10 tonnes p/a), at least 8 times my proportion of current global emissions (currently about 2.2 tonnes p/a, and which we actually want to reduce), and 20 times that of the average African citizen (0.9 tonnes p/a).

Apart from the flights, this is a reasonably good footprint, helped by being vegetarian (meat production is more resource-intensive to deliver the same nutritional value), cycling everywhere, getting a weekly local, organic vegetable box, unplugging all chargers and appliances when not in use, using a laptop instead of desktop (30% of the power consumption) etc. etc.

It was pretty easy to see where I can make the biggest reductions. So, this year I decided not to fly. And, just be open (not overbearing) with other people about what / why I am doing it. As it happened, my landlord/flatmate John got interested in what I was doing, we had a chat, and did some calculations for his own footprint (including frequent flights to Poland) using the ActOnCO2 site. By also using this site we were able to easily see how much it would cost to convert to a green tarriff and he changed power supplier. this meant my home and heating footprint went to 0!

This unexpected and easy ‘win’ halfway through the year makes calculation a lot easier, but I have still been tracking my emissions as I go along. That means taking a meter reading each month, and noting when I catch buses or trains. And, to a limited degree, being conscious of what food I am buying and what other carbon-intensive things I do (e.g. Purchase / recycle electronics).

See here for the results of my efforts this year…


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