October 6, 2020
What is a carbon footprint?
Many things we do in our day to day lives require energy. When this energy is generated through burning fossil fuels, it produces greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane.
Our carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases that are generated by our lives. This footprint is our contribution to the warming of our planet and causes climate change.
Here are a few things that we do that contribute to our carbon footprint:
- Flying: Creates a lot of carbon and nitrous emissions. It’s often one of the most impactful things we do, especially when it comes to international travel.
- Eating red meat: Creates methane emissions which are a powerful greenhouse gas.
- Driving: The burning of petrol creates carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
How big is my carbon footprint?
That depends on where you live, how you travel, and what you eat and consume.
Here are some greenhouse gas footprints from around the world.
Note: A greenhouse gas footprint includes greenhouse gases apart from carbon: methane (agriculture) and other greenhouse gases like NO2 (flying). To count only carbon, would exclude the other impacts we have.
First world countries have the largest footprint because they tend to use more energy:
- Australia: 27.7T
- Canada: 21.7T
- United States: 20.14T
- New Zealand: 18.3T
- China: 9.4T
- United Kingdom: 8.56T
- India: 2.6T
If we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change (and not raise global temperatures more than 2℃) the average global carbon footprint per year needs to drop under 2 tons by 2050.
So we’re pretty far off! But don’t worry, at the end of the article we’ll give you some tools to start reducing your footprint.
How do I figure out my carbon footprint?
Normally you would have to fill out a pretty long questionnaire, with lots of specific information about your power usage and how much you travel. It might take about 10 minutes or so.
But, here at CarbonClick we think that’s too long.
We’re all about making climate action simple.
So, to help you figure out your footprint, we’ve created the world’s easiest carbon footprint calculator. Just drag a few sliders and you’re done — it takes 10 seconds. (Our calculator includes other greenhouse gases like methane too!)
Once you’re done you’ll be able to compare yourself to the rest of the world and your country and work out what’s the biggest contributor to your footprint.
How can I give the calculator a go?
Click this link.
You won’t need to get your old power bills out, just estimate what you spend and how far you travel each week.
Yikes, my footprint is pretty big! How can I reduce it?
To balance out, or offset, your footprint check out MyCarbonClick, our monthly carbon offsetting subscription. Anyone who subscribes will be neutralizing their carbon footprint by funding projects that fight climate change.
Also, check out our top tips for reducing your carbon footprint. PDF version here.
We’ve created the world’s easiest carbon footprint calculator was originally published in CarbonClick on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.