Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shooting myself in the carbon footprint

By Oscar A. Escobar

Update 7/31/2013

Carbon footprint or cfp:

Recently we had to update our 68 year old house in Central Florida, the work included: new low-E glass windows, attic-insulation and a new AC system. Over the last 6 months we had a 48% reduction in our electric consumption compared to the same periods in previous years. Our driving has been reduced from the average 12,000 miles a year to about 6,000 miles/y  (after the calculations I divided this result in half since my wife and I share one vehicle)

Using  a few of the free web based carbon footprint calculators like the one from the EPA, I estimated my individual home and vehicle cfp to be about 3 1/4 tones of CO2 per year.

My air travel cfp for this year is 5,823 lbs of CO2 or slightly less than 3 tones of CO2. 

So my projected carbon footprint, is about 6 tones of CO2 for this year. Hopefully I won't do much flying in the near future since that alone nearly doubled my cfp, which was kind of self defeating.

Last Update Oct 10, 2014

Other interesting articles:

 The Meteorologist’s Meltdown: Eric Holthaus on Deciding to Quit Flyingquits flying
Oct, 1, 2013

Nov. 10, 2013

Who bears the cost of airline emissions?

Aviation is today responsible for some 2% of the planet’s man-made CO2 emissions. But when the effects of nitrogen oxide emissions, water vapour, soot and sulphates, contrails and enhanced cirrus cloud formations are also factored in, the best scientific estimates put aviation’s overall contribution to global warming at 4.9%.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has forecast that CO2 emissions from international aviation (about 60% of total aviation emissions) will grow from approximately 400 million tonnes in 2010 to 650 million tonnes by 2020. Unchecked, there may be a 274% increase in the fuel used by airlines by 2050, measured against 2006 levels.

Put plainly, the aviation industry bears a share of responsibility for the accelerated drought-flood cycle that climate change will bring to countries such as India.


Aug. 9, 2013

The climate impact of travel behavior: A German case study with illustrative mitigation options
Borgar Aamaasa, Corresponding author contact information, E-mail the corresponding author, Jens Borken-Kleefeldb, Glen P. Petersa
a Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO), PB 1129 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway

b IIASA – International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg, Austria


Global greenhouse gas mitigation should include the growing share of emissions from transportation. To help understand the mitigation potential of changing travel behavior requires disaggregating the climate impacts of transportation by transport mode, distance, and travel behavior. Here we use disaggregated data on travel behavior to calculate the climate impact of Germans traveling nationally and internationally in 2008 and develop some illustrative mitigation options. We include all relevant long-lived greenhouse gases and short-lived climate forcers and use global temperature change for 50 years of sustained emissions as the emission metric. The total climate impact is determined almost entirely by car (∼46%) and air travel (∼45%), with smaller contributions from public transportation. The climate impact from the highest income group is 250% larger than from the lowest income group. However, the middle classes account for more than two thirds of the total impact. The relatively few trips beyond 100 km contribute more than half of the total impact because of the trip distance and use of aircraft. Individual behavioral changes, like shifting transport modes or reducing distance and frequency, can lead to useful emission reductions. However, a comprehensive package of mitigation options is necessary for deep and sustained emission reductions.

Some links:

List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita

EPA Household Carbon Footprint Calculator


CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita)

Report: Carbon markets offer 'cheap' aviation emissions cuts

Image added 9/6/2013 from: 

The Human Footprint from National Geographic.

Interesting articles added October 2, 2013

One meteorologist explains why he won’t fly again




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A #Geoengineering #Climate Issues blog - Geoingeniería by Oscar and Jocelyn Escobar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Licencia Creative Commons
A #Geoengineering #Climate Issues blog por Oscar y Jocelyn Escobar se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional.