Monday, November 15, 2021

How Big is Your CO2 Footprint?

CO2 is one of the biggest causes of global heating. Calculating our own individual CO2 output is very difficult, chiefly because a lot of our personal contributions to climate change come from our purchasing and consumption decisions - where the CO2 costs are largely hidden. However it is much easier to calculate our personal CO2 output from our transportation decisions.

Cars (and other motorized road traffic) are one of the major contributors to CO2 output. In Europe 30% of CO2 emissions are caused by transportation. 70% of that is caused by road traffic. If you live in Germany you can use Vislab's How far can I get with my CO₂ budget? interactive map to work out your own personal CO2 travel emissions. 

If you enter a German zip-code, the distance you travel each day and a mode of transport into Vislab's map you can then discover your personal CO2 emissions (in kg) from your personal travel decisions. The interactive map isn't entirely essential to the calculation but it does give you a visual guide as to how far you can travel in the distance that you entered into the map. 

If you don't live in Germany you can still estimate your personal CO2 output by just entering the distance you travel and using a random German zip-code address (the map has a button which will automatically randomize the address). The resulting map will not show your location but the CO2 emissions given should give you a rough idea as to your own personal daily CO2 output.

How far can I get with my CO₂ budget? also includes a calculator tool which can work out the CO2 cost of your last flight. For example my last flight was London to Amsterdam (taken over 30 years ago). This round-trip has a CO2 cost of 447.3 kg. The calculator informs me that if I had driven a similar distance as that flight my CO2 output would have been around 150 kg.

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