This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Comment [M1]: For the comparison, compare your personal results (if you did a family estimate, you may need to divide your family value by the number of family members) with per capita values for countries with a range of socio-economic conditions. Specifically, look at data from the US, China, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Guatemala, and Bangladesh. Also, look at data for your home state. Be sure to summarize this information in your term paper. Note: The CAIT database has been down recently for maintenance. If it is not available, you can also go to CDIAC web site (cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_coun.html). You will see graphs for each country, but near the top of each country page, you can see a link for the numerical data. You can use the "Total Fossil Fuel Emissions" values for 2008. Grading The assignment is worth 100 points awarded in the following areas: Organization (10 pts.): Your presentation should have the following sections 1.Introduction 2.Your Eating Carbon Footprint – focus on just the facts here. 3.Your Household Carbon Footprint – focus on just the facts here as well. 4.Discussion – Here is where you compare your carbon footprint with those from other countries, and speculate about how you may or may alter your life style to do your part to contribute to energy sustainability and to combat global warming. 5.Conclusions – briefly summarize your main points 6.References Concepts (60 pts.): Your presentation should demonstrate your accurate knowledge of the subject matter. It should also competently address the goals of the assignment as outlined above. Writing Style and Presentation (20 pts): Correct grammar and spelling are important. References (10 pts.): Cite your sources of information!
Mark Cave’s Carbon Footprint - How It Compares To That Of Average Americans, And That Of People In Six Other Countries; And Lessons To Take Away From Those Comparisons
Mark Cave Student ID 1055740
EVSP605 Fall Professor Seal December 30, 2012
Timeliness: Assignments submitted in the week after the deadline will have 10 % deducted. Assignments submitted more than 1 week late will receive a zero.
Mark Cave’s Carbon Footprint When I first saw, in the CDIAC database, that the per capita carbon emissions in the U.S. for 2008 was 4.9, my heart sank – my very roughly derived CO2 emissions are about 8.6 (I simply divided the UC-Berkeley computed family emissions of 34.3 by 4). Then I thankfully scanned up and read the instructions at the top of
Comment [M2]: Mark, Good job. My purpose behind this assignment is to get you to think about your carbon footprint and start thinking in terms of where you can cut emissions. After all, the carbon footprint of society is made up of the carbon footprints of all of its citizens and our consumer habits. To combat global warming, society will need to make significant cuts, which will include individual citizens and families. You have put your own personal habits in perspective globally. Now you need to use these insights to think about we can reduce our carbon emissions by 50 % to keep global warming at an “acceptable” level for your final project. Where would you cut? Should the US cut more than other countries to allow them to raise their standards of living closer to ours? Even though you may think that changes need to be made at high levels of government, ultimately, it is the consumer that drives everything. As the government looks at the energy consumption of its citizens, it will need to target specific sectors of energy use. Where should it provide incentives or disincentives? Bob Organization: 10/10 Concepts: 60/60 Writing Style: 20/20 I noted a few spelling or grammatical errors. References: 10/10 Timeliness: OK
the spreadsheet. They told me to multiply the 4.9 metric tons (mt’s) of per capita carbon emissions by 3.667 to arrive at the average per capita “units of carbon dioxide.” Assuming units is synonymous with tons, the resulting per capita emissions of CO2 in the USA in 2008 was 17.97 tons. That’s just above 3 tons more than the per capita average of 14.8 tons of CO2 that I arrived at using the carbon calculator furnished by UC Berkeley (I divided by four the number 59.2, which is the average tons of CO2 UC Berkeley gave as emissions by a family of 4 with gross annual pay of $50-60K).
So, by doing the math right I calmed down and felt much better. In percentage terms, my CO2 emissions are about 52% less than the average American’s for 2008, using the CDIAC database [(17.97 - 8.6)/17.97]; and about 42% less than the average given by UC-Berkeley [(14.8 - 8.6)/14.8].
I take some additional comfort in holding the firm conviction that my own personal CO2 footprint is really less than the result of dividing my family’s footprint by 4, since I am much more conscientious about and proactive at improving my sustainability performance than the other family members are.
The above said, there is still much that I can and need to do - my carbon footprint is by no means small, in comparison to many Americans and especially in comparison to people in other countries.
While my overall carbon footprint is surely less than what’s derived from averaging my family’s overall footprint, that probably does not hold true for my food footprint (2.8 = 8.4 divided by 3). Of the three of us meat eaters in the family, I eat about as much meat as the other two. Plus, much of the meat is purchased at the local supermarket, with concern focused almost exclusively upon getting the most meat for the least money. At face value, it would seem that reducing our and my food footprints would be relatively
Mark Cave’s Carbon Footprint straightforward and simple: buy less meat (especially beef and pork), and of the meat that is bought, buy
what’s been grown locally and naturally. However, family finances and dynamics complicate things a bit - my wife does the grocery shopping and she feels money pinched and too harried and pressed for time to buy some types of groceries at one place, and then more expensive, responsibly produced meats and dairy at a couple of others.
On the plus side, the oldest daughter is away to college for much of nine months and the youngest daughter is still going strong with being a vegan. My wife and I have agreed to reduce meat consumption; and, for the shift to poultry and fish, we’re strategizing to gradually increase the proportion of purchases of those foods that are locally and responsibly produced. Other food carbon footprint reduction strategies (again, gradually implemented) that were covered in my forum two posting: composting, growing of some of our own vegetables, and purchasing other in-season vegetables, fruits, and dairy products from local farmers markets and a food coop.
For my overall carbon footprint, the highest percentage contributions were amongst three broad categories food, home energy and travel (which for me is exclusively driving to/from/in search of work). According to the UC-Berkeley calculator, driving is on top, contributing about 3 tons of CO2/year, which is 35% of my total 8.6 total tons of CO2/year. Food is second, at 2.1 tons (about 25% the total), and home energy placed third, at around 1.75, which is 20% of the total. The Nature Conservancy calculator showed my CO2/year tonnage at 11.75, with 44.3% of that (5.21 tons) being home energy, 29.1% (3.42 tons) being food, and 20.8% (2.44 tons) being driving and car ownership. So, the two calculators kept food in second but flipped driving and home energy between first and third. It’s difficult to decide which is closer to actuality, and it is probably not important to decide, for the purposes of comparing all three of my major carbon contributors to those of other Americans and those of people in other countries, and especially for the purpose of strategizing to lower the carbon totals in each area.
Mark Cave’s Carbon Footprint The requirement to compare my carbon footprint to those from China, United Arab Emirates, Sweden,
Guatemala and Bangladesh has frankly been frustrating and annoying. The population, cultural, economic and developmental differences between the countries are so great that it seems impossible to draw any valuable lessons from comparing the per capita carbon footprints to mine, and to use such comparisons to come up with ideas for changes to my behaviors or to governmental policies.
However, the requirement remains, so here goes… In per capita carbon and CO2 emissions, United Arab Emirates ranked highest of the seven countries (6th out of all 215 countries tracked), with 22.56 mt’s of CO2/year;, and the United States came in second (12th of 215), with 17.01 mt’s of CO2/year. UAE is a major petroleum and natural gas producer and exporter, with concomitant high per capita income. With its economy so dependent on those exports, I expect that the science of climate change is downplayed at every turn.
While UAE is a wealthy nation, its population and size greatly limit its influence and make its high per capita CO2 emissions of minor import. Of somewhat greater concern is the country’s fairly high total emissions of 42, 766 thousand metric tons (tmt’s) of carbon (not CO2, which would be 3.667 times more). That’s enough to place this little country at 32 nd out of 215, which is quite high. However, I still think that’s not nearly the cause for concern that China’s and the U.S.’s total emissions are. UAE will either follow (eventually) the lead of other countries that aggressively but gradually lower their emissions, or it will suffer a severe economic contraction that will suddenly and dramatically achieve those lowered emissions.
Among the countries being compared, China and the U.S. are far and away the ones of greatest concern, with total 2009 carbon (again, not CO2) emissions of 3,541,499 tmt’s, which is almost 50 times the amount of 2009 CO2 emissions for the other 4 countries combined. While China’s total emissions of 2,096,295 tmt’s is alarming, even more alarming is the rapid rise in per capita emissions, to the point that in 2006 they surged past the world average of 1.27 mt’s to 1.32 mt’s. China has more than 1.3 billion people, so that growth curve must be dramatically and almost immediately leveled off.
Mark Cave’s Carbon Footprint
The United States, being the other economic goliath, and the wealthiest of the developed countries, also must dramatically and quickly bring down its total and per capita CO2 emissions. The U.S. and China similarly hold great stocks of coal and natural gas, and they both seem to give lip service to powering their struggling economies with more diverse and cleaner energy sources, but they cannot overcome their addiction to energy from cost externalized, and therefore cheap, fossil fuels.
If collective leadership for the two countries step up and acknowledge to the rest of the world that anthropogenic climate change is a clear and present danger that requires a new paradigm in how economies and businesses are run, then collaborative work can begin. That collaboration would be joined and made even more of a juggernaut for change by the developed countries of Western Europe and Southeast Asia, Canada and Japan, and by rapidly developing countries like India and Brazil. The other countries of the world would either follow or not, but their lack of participation would become much less a detriment to achievement of a stable climate and to progress towards sustainability.
Guatemala and Bangladesh are poor, developing countries that will endure great suffering if anthropogenic climate change (ACG) continues unabated.
Of the seven countries being compared, and possibly compared to all countries, Sweden is way out in front in seeking to achieve sustainability in energy production. Sweden put a cap on CO2 in 1988, and now has in place CO2 taxes equaling about US$150/ton; greenhouse gas emissions for 2009 were 18% lower than in 1991 (beating the country’s Kyoto protocol requirement); via a fanatic focus on energy efficiency, electricity demand has been steady since 1991 despite 60% growth in the economy; oil’s contribution to heating energy dropped from 25% to 10% between 1991 and 2009; and 1/3 of Sweden’s energy comes from renewable sources and hydropower. (Shahan, 2011).
Mark Cave’s Carbon Footprint Now to seek tie-in of the above information to my own carbon footprint… My carbon footprint is lower than
that of the average American, but much higher than that for individuals in the other countries being compared. The primary takeaway from looking at the undeveloped countries, Guatemala and Bangladesh, is the fact that the cumulative daily carbon producing activities by me and my fellow citizens in developed and wealthy countries around the world result in real, adverse impacts upon the less fortunate residents of developing countries. That’s humbling, and it’s helpful in making me buck up and aggressively seek to change my habits to continue being more sustainable. China and the USA are showing to me that lip service and tiny steps that symbolize rather than actually demonstrate sustainable behaviors just keep the climate change train roaring along, unhindered by good faith sustainability efforts by other developed and wealthy, but smaller in economy countries, like Sweden.
Sweden’s a standard bearer, a country that’s showing the world the kind of sea change in attitude that’s needed to inspire policies and regulations that are driven by lofty goals in sustainability and greenhouse gas reductions. If the US and China wake up, eat some humble pie and then partner to copy and even improve upon what Sweden has accomplished, anthropogenic climate change will be eventually be reversed and become a phenomenon of the past. Moving forward, I will read up on and seek to copy to the extent possible sustainability behaviors by individual Swedes; and I’ll look for opportunities to advance here - in my communities and country - successful Swedish policies.
References University of California - Berkeley. (n.d.). CoolClimate carbon footprint calculator. Retrieved from http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/carboncalculator The Nature Conservancy. (n.d.). What’s my carbon footprint? Retrieved from http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/ Shahan, Z. (2011, January 11). Sweden is an energy leader; 10 key points. Clean Technica. Retrieved from http://cleantechnica.com/2011/01/31/sweden-is-an-energy-leader-10-key-points/