Personal CO2 Emissions and instant reductions

Personal CO2 Emissions and instant reductions

People ask: What can I do to reduce emissions? The following describes various sources of personal CO2 Emissions and suggest some instant reductions. In the bottom is a list of the 80 worst performing countries in ClimatePositions and their Contribution Free Level of CO2 Emissions per capita by 2014. By comparing the Contribution Free Level (for example 5.1 tons per person in the United Kingdom) and the effect of your personal reductions you get an idea of climate sustainability. In this way, you can calculate your own “carbon footprint” and then compare that with the calculated Contribution Free Level.

The CO2 Emissions in the two tables below must be read with great caution since the circumstances are often unclear and yet crucial for the calculation. The second table shows emissions as CO2 equivalent (various greenhouse gases converted to CO2 in terms of global warming potential). Note that many other sources of CO2 Emissions (carbon dioxide) and other greenhouse gases should be added in order to grasp the full climate change impact. According to one survey (see ‘here’) an average citizen of the United Kingdom generates 1.4 tons of CO2 annually from food and catering (includes cooking, food use, refrigerating, freezing and the indirect emissions from production, manufacturing and distribution of food and drink products). The same survey states that producing, transporting and cleaning clothes and shoes accounts for 1.00 tons of CO2 per capita (in U.K).

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CO2 Emissions
per capita in
tons per year
.
Driving car (1 person) 12 km per day / 4.232 km per year 0.8
Bus 12 km per day / 4.232 km per year 0.2
Rail (fuel) 12 km per day / 4.232 km per year (U.S.) 0.5
Flight (roundtrip) 4.232 km (see the second table) 0.6
Cruise 7 days (roundtrip), (4.232 km ?) 1.8
House heating (U.K.) 1.5
House cooling (air condition) (U.S) 1.0
Hot shower 10 minutes per day 0.4
Web reading, working and surfing 2 hours per day 0.2
.
CO2 equivalent
per capita in
tons per year
.
Flight (roundtrip) 4.232 km 1.5
Eating 200 g of lamb per day 2.9
Eating 200 g of beef per day 2.0
Eating 200 g of pork per day 0.9
Eating 200 g of chicken per day 0.5

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To calculate your CO2 Emissions from Flight, Car, Cruise and Household (heating and power consumption) you can do so at ‘myclimate.org’. Try also the Carbon Footprint Calculator‘ and the ‘Flight emissions calculator‘.

If your country and yourself wisely implement ‘renewable energy’ and ‘energy efficiency‘ at the expense of fossil fuels, the entire calculation of greenhouse gas emissions from the daily life changes. Trains driven by fossil fuels often emit several times more CO2 than electrified trains (depending on the source of energy) and a sun heated shower emit close to zero CO2 (depending on the heating method). No matter which calculator you choose, the following are some of the most straight-forward ways of reducing your carbon footprint:

1. Transportation: walk, bike or take public transportation instead of driving.

2. Dwelling: Implement energy efficiency measures, including behavior (i.e. turn off the lights when not in the room). Implement renewable energy if feasible. In choosing a new dwelling, consider energy efficiency.

3. Food: purchase local, organically grown food, and eat as little meat as possible.

4. Other necessities: purchase local, recycled products when possible, and purchase only what your need. Prioritize energy efficienct, recycled content and organic products. Recycle all recyclables, resell or repair products that are not used until the end of their life.

Below are listed the 80 worst performing countries (see the ranking ‘here‘), with the level of CO2 Emissions per capita in the 1990s and the Contribution Free Level in 2014 (calculated in ClimatePositions) – read more about the ‘calculation methods‘. Note that the CO2 Emissions used in ClimatePositions are from the consumption of energy due to the burning of petroleum, natural gas and coal.

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Tons of CO2 Free level
1990s 2014
 .
Qatar 56.0 20.6
United Arab Emirates 42.7 16.6
Kuwait 26.1 10.6
Singapore 23.6 10.2
United States 20.1 8.3
Trinidad and T. 17.4 7.4
Canada 17.3 7.2
Australia 16.7 7.1
Netherlands 14.6 6.8
Estonia 13.5 6.5
Saudi Arabia 13.1 6.2
Denmark 12.3 5.9
Belgium 13.4 5.4
Russia 11.4 5.4
Germany 11.0 5.4
Kazakhstan 11.0 5.3
United Kingdom 9.9 5.1
Czech Republic 10.5 4.9
Ireland 8.5 4.9
Greece 8.3 4.8
Norway 8.7 4.7
Poland 8.5 4.7
New Zealand 8.7 4.7
Italy 7.4 4.6
Libya 8.9 4.6
Finland 10.2 4.6
Japan 8.8 4.5
Austria 7.6 4.4
South Africa 8.2 4.3
Belarus 7.1 4.3
Ukraine 8.4 4.2
Israel 7.1 4.1
Spain 6.3 4.1
Oman 7.5 4.1
Slovenia 7.3 3.9
Slovakia 7.8 3.9
Bulgaria 6.5 3.8
South Korea 7.8 3.6
Hungary 5.9 3.6
Switzerland 6.3 3.6
Portugal 5.0 3.4
Serbia 4.3 3.3
Venezuela 5.8 3.2
Sweden 7.1 3.2
Turkmenistan 4.8 3.1
Uzbekistan 4.5 3.0
Croatia 4.0 3.0
Latvia 4.0 3.0
Iran 4.0 2.9
France 6.4 2.9
Panama 4.9 2.9
Jamaica 3.8 2.9
Malaysia 4.3 2.8
Iraq 3.5 2.7
Lebanon 3.2 2.6
Mexico 3.6 2.6
Chile 2.9 2.6
Argentina 3.5 2.6
Algeria 3.0 2.6
Jordan 3.1 2.6
Bosnia and Herzeg. 3.2 2.6
Syria 2.9 2.5
Turkey 2.5 2.5
China 2.2 2.4
Thailand 2.3 2.3
Tunisia 1.7 2.2
Armenia 2.7 2.2
Mauritius 2.1 2.1
Egypt 1.7 2.1
Uruguay 1.6 2.1
Botswana 2.2 2.1
Dominican Republic 1.4 2.0
Brazil 1.8 1.8
Namibia 0.9 1.7
Angola 0.9 1.7
Ecuador 1.6 1.6
Bolivia 1.0 1.6
Indonesia 1.1 1.4
Guatemala 0.6 1.4
Honduras 0.6 1.0

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Source on CO2 Emissions per capita worldwide: EIA, U.S. Energy Information Administration (links in the menu “Calculations”).
Data on greenhouse gas emissions from meat and other foods are from ‘www.ewg.org‘. See also ‘www.unep.org/pdf‘ (with a different greenhouse gas ballance of the different kinds meat) and a ‘study‘ of University of Oxford in New Scientist.
General information on carbon footprint: ‘Wikipedia‘.
Data on showers and CO2 Emissions are from ‘carbonrally.com‘.
Data on websurfing, -working and -reading: ‘mnn.com‘ and ‘here‘. Info on webreading: ‘universitetsavisen.ku.dk‘ (Danish).
Draving by Claus Andersen, 2014.

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