2018: The Year Climate Chaos Showed

2018 is, world-over and hands-down, the year anthropological climate change began to actually show. The thought of people in New Delhi facing 50°C got me revisiting my personal carbon footprint.

According to carbonfootprint.com, and including my own personal calculation, the annual average carbon footprints at the level of individuals are as follows:

Industrial-world:

11 tonnes

Me:

9.6 tonnes

United Kingdom:

7.13 tonnes

Worldwide target is:

2 tonnes

The most significant change I have made to my own footprint (going by the calculator) is in using 100% renewable electricity. (My gas tariff is “frak free”, but it’s a mix of renewable (12%) and fossil-based gas so I reduced my annual estimate by 12%.)

Without this change my footprint would be way above the UK average.

That’s a real eye-opener. It means that as a household we’re still using more energy than most UK households even though we have a solar freaking heat exchanger on the roof and renewable electricity and LED bulbs and…!

I still have 7.6 tonnes to shift!

1.15 of my tonnes go on some (not all) secondaries like interest payments; things I can do diddly squat about. That’s over half my 2 tonne allowance gone! Another tonne goes on hotels, restaurants and pubs! Jeepers.

Looking at my calculator results, the key ways I can edge towards that forever 2 tonnes target are:

  • reduce food:
    • miles (including with home-grown)
    • waste
    • packaging
    • meat consumption, and
  • increase my use of second-hand clothing
  • just heat the room I’m in rather than the whole house when I work from home
  • reduce use of hotels, restaurants and pubs

In fact, on the gas issue, if I did cut the gas to 0% (that is, make it 100% renewable) my footprint would be more like 5.5 tonnes. But that’s only going to happen if my supplier keeps building gas mills (they’re working on it) and I keep my usage down (yes, there’s a paradox there).

Theoretically, then, with renewable gas (like I say, my provider and me are working on that) and no restaurants/ hotels/ pubs I could get my footprint down to 4.5. Maybe 4 at a push. As for the 2 tonne target? That’s where I need top-down solutions to come in. Closed-loop car production. EVs charged by renewable electricity. National-level carbon offsetting.

As an individual I’m stuck short of my 2 tonne target! I’m committed to working on this but I also need the legislation and infrastructure work done.