HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR OWN CONTROLLABLE CARBON FOOTPRINT. Following the decision taken at the Diocesan Synod in June 2006, and the subsequent presentations by members of the Diocesan Environmental Working Group, some of us may want to take steps to reduce our CO2 footprint – the amount of carbon we produce in a year. 10 days ago The Independent produced a poster in conjunction with Christian Aid, urging us all to cut our carbon emissions and pointing out that whereas in Africa the average person produces 0.9 tonnes of CO2 a year, in the UK the equivalent figure is 10 tonnes. As a start, why not calculate your own actual controllable CO2 output, using the simple form attached? You don’t have to share the results with anyone else, but the calculation will show you the amount of carbon you /your household actually produce(s), and which you can directly influence. To arrive at the total overall average figure attributable to you, a further amount of approx 5 tons per person should be added for items that are not directly within our control (Government and commercial buildings, public services, agricultural food production, etc). However the best place to start is with those aspects of CO2 production each of us can do something about. All the information you need to make a personal carbon footprint calculation can be obtained from your own utility bills, the manufacturer of the car you drive (or a motoring magazine), and in the case of air travel from one of the reputable carbon offset organisations such as Climate Care. It is recommended that, if your records permit, you start by taking the average of 2 years’ utility usage, etc. This should provide a reasonably accurate baseline from which to monitor your year-on-year carbon production in future, and hopefully to identify a declining trend. Some generally accepted conversion factors applying to domestic heating oil/gas/electricity usage are given on the attachment to enable you to do the simple arithmetic involved. One further point: all CO2 conversion factors are reasonably accurate approximations. You do not need to calculate to 4 decimal places to get a realistic indication of your carbon footprint, bearing in mind that to make a serious impact on climate change (and to get anywhere near meeting the Government’s targets, which many climate experts regard as too conservative anyway), we all need to achieve reductions of several tonnes, not kilograms, with a significant start being made in the next 2-3 years. Having established our present carbon output the actions we can all take to reduce it, in ascending order of cost and difficulty, are: (1) Reduce energy use by turning things off, installing low-energy light bulbs, turning heating down a couple of degrees, driving less and more slowly, etc; (2) Improving home insulation, and offsetting CO2 produced by air travel – both of which cost something, but are relatively inexpensive; (3) Taking more costly steps to reduce energy use, eg solar heating, wind turbines, buying a ‘greener’ car, etc. If you want to get more technical input, speak to the local Energy Efficiency Advice Centre (EEAC)which is based at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on 0800-512-012, (energy @wiltshirewildlife.org), or contact Climate Care on 01865-207000 (www.climatecare.org). EEAC are part funded by the Energy Saving Trust, a government body, and advisors offer free, impartial advice on energy efficiency, including local grants. For residents of Dorset, the local EEAC in Parkstone, Poole can also be reached on 0800-512-012 Environmental Working Group – Shrinking the Carbon Footprint – A personal perspective. The calculation of our household’s carbon footprint was an interesting exercise! We produce 12 tonnes of carbon. It helps to focus priorities! The average in country is 11 tonnes of carbon. In summary we emit *2 tonnes of carbon when the electrical power we consume is generated *6.5 tonnes for the gas to heat our home and for the gas used for cooking *3.5 tonnes of carbon are emitted when use our cars Scope for reduction Electrical Power We only have 2 low energy light bulbs in our house, but until recently most of our light fittings were not suitable for the initial range of low energy light bulbs. The range of low energy light bulbs has now widened, and the bulbs are in themselves more attractive. Improved awareness will encourage economies and perhaps a 20% reduction will be achieved giving an overall reduction of 0.4 tonnes of carbon. I am aware that only 20% of the electrical energy produced in UK is produced by Nuclear Power. I would support a significant increase in Nuclear Power generation, as in France. The implementation of such a policy could within say, 15years, reduce the carbon footprint of our household’s electrical power consumption equivalent by 1.5 tonnes of carbon. Sobering thought! At the same time ‘clean coal’ technology is now being developed to significantly reduce the emissions from conventional power stations, which currently are responsible for huge carbon emissions. This is the big target to reduce greenhouse gasses! Domestic Heating This is greatest challenge for our household, but there are opportunities. The use of ground force heating, or extracting heat from the air (a reverse refrigeration cycle) are now in commercial use. They can achieve reductions in the use of fossil fuels by 80%, but they are not cheap to install. Certainly I should hope that all new schools, care homes, offices, and public buildings would install this technology. The scope to reduce the use of fossil fuels to heat buildings across the country is very significant. To convert the existing housing stock would be very expensive, so the emphasis in this sector must be improved insulation, an acceptance of wearing warmer clothing, and having lower temperatures in our homes. Personally I would estimate a 10% saving that would reduce our household’s carbon footprint by 0.65 tonnes, but this will increase to at least 20% when we replace our 15year old boiler with a modern combination gas condensing design. Nationally the scope is far greater with perhaps reductions of 30% overall, in say, 10years time. Motoring Significant improvements have been made in the last 10years to reduce emissions, and continue to be made. The cars in our household travel 13,000 miles (20,800Km.) and the emissions account for 29% of our carbon footprint. Most of our motoring is in a car that produces 157g per km. This is quite low compared with Chelsea Tractors that emit as much as 352g. In future we will only purchase vehicles that emit 140g per km. in our household, or less. That will reduce our carbon footprint by 0.60 tonnes, perhaps more, with a reduction in our travelling. The responsible attitude to motoring need not be draconian, since a BMW 3 series only emits 150g per km.today, but unethical motoring would involve driving pre 1998 models that can be heavy polluters, as are 4 wheel drive vehicles that rarely go off road, i.e. Chelsea Tractors! Overall Reduction An overall reduction of 1.65tonnes, 13.5%, in our household’s footprint in the short term is certainly achievable without heavy investment, or too much personal discomfort. This will increase to 20%(2.4tonnes), in say, 5 years when we have improved our domestic heating system. Nationally a huge reduction is possible, with the appropriate investments that could achieve reductions of the order of 30%. Christians have I believe a responsibility worldwide to encourage industrialists and politicians to take the correct decisions to protect God’s creation, our planet, but it will require concerted action worldwide. CALCULATE YOUR OWN CONTROLLABLE CARBON ‘FOOTPRINT’ A. ELECTRICITY (Standard Supplier*): ( Units x 0.43) Kg = Kg = Tonnes B. DOMESTIC HEATING (Oil): ( Ltrs x 2.6) Kg = Kg = Tonnes (Gas): ( KWh x 0.19) Kg = Kg = Tonnes C. MOTORING: ** ( Miles x 0. ) Kg = Kg = Tonnes D. AIR TRAVEL***: Trip 1 = Tns Trip 2 = Tns Trip 3 = Tns Total = Tonnes TOTAL TONS PRODUCED (A + B + C + D) = TONNES PER ANNUM *If you already use a ‘green’ supplier such as Good Energy (tel 0845-456-1640), you will need to get a different (lower) CO2 conversion factor – ask the supplier. ** ' The CO2 ratings of most car models are quoted in grammes per Km. The rating given in such cases should be multiplied by 8/5 to give the equivalent per mile. This can then be multiplied by the mileage taken from the speedometer (as shown above) to give a true picture of carbon emissions produced through driving. ***If you ‘offset’ your air travel with an organisation such as Climate Care, include 25% of the tonnage produced by the flight – offsetting is good, but does not give full CO2 ‘neutrality’.