Ecological Footprint

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It’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve not been completely idle I have been searching around for the best method of calculating my carbon emissions. I have looked at a number of different websites including the ones from Carbon Neutral and from Climate Care, BP have also recently given us a carbon calculator but it is only aimed at car drivers, it is great for car drivers as it will work out the total emissions based on what car you drive as well as how far you drive it. Unfortunately that isn’t much use to me as I don’t drive but it is at their Target Neutral website if you are interested.

Climate Care and Carbon Neutral both have similar calculators that take into account what you produce from travel (either train or car), and flights you take and from the electricity and gas that you use but by far the best carbon calculator is from a company called Best Foot Forward they have produced a downloadable Excel spreadsheet that calculates your carbon emissions in detail and actually goes much further and calculates your Ecological footprint. This is how much of the planet you take up. To my surprise the average person in the UK needs so much land that if the whole world used the same amount of land then we would need 2.7 planets to sustain us. Have a look at the image below:

UK typical ecological footprint

And as you can see they estimate that the average person emits 11.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, that is a lot to try and offset.

Now for the questions that I set myself in my last post, firstly can I find out if the company I’m buying from is carbon neutral, the answer to this is yes (but only because if they then they tell everyone themselves) but also sadly there are not many companies that are.
The next question was, how can I find out how much carbon is produced when I buy half a dozen apples from New Zealand? Food miles is an issue that continues to concern environmentalists but there is no way of calculating carbon emissions exactly, Best Foot Forwards calculator allows to you estimate how much of the produce you buy is grown locally and takes that into account with it’s calculations but I guess it is difficult to go into details there.
Next I wanted to know, does travelling by train cause CO2 emissions? Put simply yes it does but a lot less than travelling by car.
and finally I wanted to know does this mean that I can never fly somewhere on holiday again? This is a difficult question to answer, planes are one the major causes of CO2 emissions but you can offset your emisions by using one of the schemes set up by Carbon Neutral or Climate Care, these sound good on paper but it is debateable if they really work.

My current ecological footprint

This is my estimate of my current ecological footprint, because I don’t drive (in fact I cycle to work) and I’m generally pretty good at recycling my footprint is much lower as are my CO2 emissions but I still need to get them down, so I have set up my aim for the next year to cut my CO2 emissions to 6.2 tonnes per year and my ecological footprint down to 3.62 gha or only 1.9 planets.
My CO2 emmissions after one year

My ultimate aim is to get my CO2 emissions down to 3.1 tonnes per year and my ecological footprint down to 1 planet, although how possible that is I don’t know.