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What is your carbon footprint?

What is your carbon footprint?

Unread postby The_Toecutter » Wed 11 Dec 2019, 01:07:30

https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon-footprint-calculator/

I scored 4 tons CO2. This is roughly the global average, and about 1/4 that of the average American. I answered the test to match the way I was living before I moved back in with family, due to the fact that I currently live in a household where inputs are inconsistent(lots of wasteful family members that would skew everything up if included in the calculation, and where their use of utilities varies widely from month to month making it difficult to put accurate inputs into the above calculator). I purchased renewable energy, only drove on long trips, used a bicycle for all of my local transport, only sparingly purchased anything for entertainment, kept the electric/water bill very low, consumed very little animal protein compared to the average American, stayed away from airports, went without AC, and the vast majority of my carbon footprint was/is from food. Were I able to grow/raise my own, I'd eliminate most of that. Further reductions could be made if I had my own land and had independence from utilities for water/power/heat. I think it would actually be possible to live quite well with a carbon footprint of 2 tons CO2 or less, which is what is needed in order to stall the worst predicted effects of global warming.

The motivation was not just for environmental reasons, but to save money, as I was trying to get rid of student loan debt and build up some savings. I lived extremely frugally and hardly bought anything, and still live much the same way. The only purchases I'll be making in the near future are parts to finish a project vehicle, as I've been saving every penny towards that end.
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the old growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder. ~Thomas Jefferson
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Re: What is your carbon footprint?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 11 Dec 2019, 15:49:58

The_Toecutter wrote:The motivation was not just for environmental reasons, but to save money, as I was trying to get rid of student loan debt and build up some savings. I lived extremely frugally and hardly bought anything, and still live much the same way. The only purchases I'll be making in the near future are parts to finish a project vehicle, as I've been saving every penny towards that end.

Good for you and congrats!

If you manage to get a decent income and make (even more modest) frugality a habit long term, you could end up wealthy enough down the road to really surprise yourself. (Wealth is no great end in itself, but the flexibility it buys re being able to relax and enjoy your retirement years is, IMO, priceless. Not to mention being able to retire decades early, if you want to).

Pretty much the opposite of the behavior of a huge proportion of the first world middle class.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: What is your carbon footprint?

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 11 Dec 2019, 16:14:00

Amen to the above. I retired at 65 because my Wife wanted to keep working and because a divorce at 40 wiped me out. Still we have retired well and are enjoying the heck out of it.

Compared to many of my comrades we did quite well and spent our last working decade with either extended vacations or part time.

And in the meantime we had a lower than average foot print because we lived and drove modestly while saving.
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Re: What is your carbon footprint?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 11 Dec 2019, 16:20:22

I took the test and answered all questions honestly, and scored 21 tons a year vs. an average for my household peers of 46 tons, which seems about right.

Just by using common sense and doing less re things like travel, the potential savings of things like buying a BEV or even an HEV is greatly reduced for me, since simply driving a normal modern sedan only about 3000 miles a year and no flying, etc. already makes that footprint tiny.

But Toecutter, you remind me of my dad, re frugality -- in the US, and the first world generally, you're pretty much in a league by yourself.

One thing I noticed is that varying your income varies how it compares you with others (assuming more income means more spending), but not your personal carbon footprint, so that's good. The defaults on things like spending on goods and services change, but it lets frugal people enter what they actually spend, to get a realistic number.

So overall, I think your link provided a pretty decent assessment for a quick exercise, using the detailed options.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: What is your carbon footprint?

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 11 Dec 2019, 17:41:42

If it is accurate it is also looking at your federal tax rate. A fair percent of your taxes goes to carbon. So someone making $1 million per year and living in a grass shack should have a fairly high footprint.
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Re: What is your carbon footprint?

Unread postby The_Toecutter » Mon 16 Dec 2019, 18:38:20

Outcast_Searcher wrote:But Toecutter, you remind me of my dad, re frugality -- in the US, and the first world generally, you're pretty much in a league by yourself.


Not quite. I lived like a poor American when I had money, and still live like a poor American now that I don't have money. From the data available, there are easily tens of millions of Americans that consume even less than I do, so I'm not exactly at the extreme end of the bell curve.

Perhaps the above calculator's numbers are out of date or tallied a bit differently than what I'm posting below, but consider the following:

The bottom 10% of Americans account for 3.6 tonnes of CO2 per capita.

http://whygreeneconomy.org/reducing-inequality-and-carbon-footprints-within-countries/

This is close to half the world average 6.2 tonnes CO2 per capita, according to page 28 of this study:

http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/ChancelPiketty2015.pdf

Which is a fair bit higher than the 4 tonnes per capita world average claimed in the calculator above. Another discrepancy is that the calculator claims 16 tonnes per capita for the average American, while the above links claim 22.5 tonnes.

Consider that the average North American emits 22.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. Compare this to the other chart in the whygreeneconomy.com link, and you will find that this average is between the 70th and 80th percentile American on the percentile wealth versus CO2 emissions chart. The very wealthiest skew the distribution greatly as they consume with a level of gluttony that the kings of the past could never dream of.

In fact, the 20th percentile American in terms of wealth, at 7.1 tonnes CO2, isn’t much more over this world average. The bottom 20% of Americans have a CO2 generation(and correlated resource consumption) similar to or lower than the lowest rungs of the global middle class!

A little bit of basic math in a spreadsheet using the data from the whygreeneconomy.org link, multiplying the population of each quantile by the average per capita emissions and putting that product in a new column, then creating a summation of the total of all of this new column, can show you that the CO2 emissions of America’s upper 1%, by itself, is as much as the bottom 40% of Americans put together. The upper 20% of Americans(which individually average out to something close in resource consumption levels to the world’s global 1%, given America’s percentage of the world’s population), comprising the mix of rich and upper middle class, generate more GHG emissions more than all other the Americans put together! THIS is where the bloat must be cut more than anywhere else, the upper middle class and wealthy.

Also consider there are wealthy Americans that are carbon neutral, because they were able to go off grid, produce their own food/electricity/water/ect., drive EVs, and negate their impact by planting trees, and generally enjoy good living standards with a little bit of consumerism here and there.

Also it must be noted that through planned obsolescence of consumer goods like tools, autos, homes, and the like, a large portion of the working classes' and middle classes’ CO2 emissions are non-essential to its standard of living, and can be somewhat decoupled from it through products built to conserve energy and to last a lifetime instead of ending up in a landfill.

Looking forward, there probably are enough resources for most Americans, or even the rest of the people on Earth, to live somewhat like those who are wealthy but live off grid, but access to said resources needs to be more equitably distributed to make this possible. If we get a collapse scenario where the existing aristocracy remains entrenched, that sort of transition won't happen.
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