Challenging Carbon – Feb 2008

I believe there is no escaping the simple fact that humans (especially in the rich countries of the West) are emitting far too much CO2 for the planet to cope with without a rapidly escalating temperature rise occurring. To me ‘doing my bit’ means doing a lot more than just recycling glass bottles and having a few low energy lightbulbs. We all need to make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of CO2 we emit by reducing our ‘carbon footprint’. The Stern report, published some 18 months ago, gave us 10 years to make that difference to reduce the worst effects of climate change. Only 8 years and 6 months to go.

But by how much, how fast and frankly, how??

For six years our family has worked to reduce our emissions. And it has been challenging; in the early days it was hard to discover how much CO2 we emitted and how to reduce it effectively. I recently found a helpful CO2 scoresheet. I’ve also developed a lifestyle audit where you can not only analyse how environmentally friendly your lifestyle is but see a path to more sustainable living.

The Earth’s plant life can absorb around 12 billion tonnes of CO2 per year

At the moment humans are producing 36 billion tonnes of CO2 per year 

Our personal carbon quota should be 2 tonnes of CO2 per year (this is fairly divided up for every man, woman child on the planet)

At the moment the average UK carbon output is 10 tonnes of CO2 per person per year