The Committee for Climate Change (of which our Trustee Piers Forster in a member) has advised that we need to halve emissions by 2030 if we’re to stand a fair chance of avoiding more than 1.5 degrees C of warming over pre-industrial levels, and possibly catastrophic climate impacts.
This sets a huge challenge for authorities at every level, from UK Government down to parish councils, as well as businesses and organisations of every kind – but above all to each one of us as responsible citizens of the world.
The UK average annual consumption footprint is currently 11 tonnes of CO2e per person (this average includes children, old folks and others with very low footprints – so most adults emit a lot more), and we all have to get ours down to below 5.5 tonnes over the next decade.
But where to start? It’s not easy being green in a world that’s addicted to fossil fuels with few alternatives, and a lot of very confusing advice.
Well, as the old adage goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so UBoC has developed a personal carbon calculator to help everyone get the ball rolling on reducing our footprints, hard, and fast.
There are already lots of good calculators out there, of course, but these often deliver conflicting totals without explaining why, and some seem far too simple to be reliable, or are too complicated and time-consuming to complete.
So, working with UBoC PhD Student Toby Green and the team at his start-up Carbon Green, and our colleague Dr Anne Owen, who specialises in the calculation of carbon indicators for Defra and the creation of carbon calculators, with valuable input from Forest Carbon and The Ecology Building Society, we’ve launched what we hope will prove to be a good compromise between ease of use and accuracy.
Tom Bliss, UBoC’s Business Development Co-ordinator adds;
“Another reason for developing this tool was that we’re increasingly being asked by different organisations if we can help them to create a calculator for their stakeholders to use. So we’re making versions of ours available to partners, which can include basic branding changes, and – crucially – a bespoke link at the end of the process so that users are returned to the partner website for further action such as donations to carbon schemes, offsetting, decarbonisation pledges etc. If your organisation would like to benefit from this offer, please get in touch.
Note that this calculator is for members of the public, not businesses. Any emissions associated with work are not included in your personal footprint, so should be measured and dealt with by your employer. (This is a much more complex calculation, which ideally would be achieved with help from specialist commercial carbon consultants).