Carbon Footprint per head. Limited.

Here goes a proposal.

Do we need to act against the climate change, ab sofort (German; “From now on”)? Yes

Do we know what are the activities that contribute the most to the climate change? Yes, CO2 release from burning fossils for E.g.; Energy.

Do we have an estimate of how much CO2 is released on year-on-year basis? Yes, per country and per capita

Is the society aware of how much is the approximate limit required to generate a change, based on international goals? No

Do the people have the tools to measure how much CO2 is released from their daily activities? No

Brainstorming: Why don’t we take small – but effective – steps to stop this break-less train and why don’t we start quantifying, to begin with, how much CO2 should be theoretically allowed per person?

Some numbers into the idea.

In 2018 based in the Global Carbon Project we released a total of 37 Gt.

Same wise, in 2018 there was a total of 7.5 billion people (different sources) in the planet.

In average, in 2018, every person in this planet released an approximate of 4.933 tones of CO2. Take this number subjectively. There are countries that release up to 2, 5, 10 times more than others (Global Carbon Project).

Now, comes the tricky part. How much do we have left? As the Yale environment 360 puts it: “It depends on who you ask.”

Lets briefly explain, every organization decided to use the variables (justified) according to what they thought would be more precise, E.g.; Are we going to continue with the deforestation at the same levels? Is the planet absorbing the CO2 in the atmosphere? but above all, the main question that they ask themselves, and arguably the most relevant… What would be the maximum change in temperature allowed?

If the numbers before (Estimated budget for CO2 left) were confusing, the numbers about the change in the temperature become trickier now. Again, briefly explained; because the amount of variables to consider are somewhere near to infinite, among the different actors in the academy, the consensus arrived to a maximum change of 2°C, however that change might implicate almost none consequences for some actors while others – based on their analysis – demand even a more drastic change in the realms of 1°C. Here the detailed explanation.

Interim conclusion

Estimations swing around the 350 billion tons and the scientific community did not argue – in general – for a goal in the realms of the 2°C (+/- 0.5). For this post purpose and goal, those numbers will be assimilated as the “safe to use” numbers.

Get to the point.

350 billion tons / 7 years goal / 7.5 billion people = 704 tons of CO2 a year per head.

In perspective; an average passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Important: Emitted by the vehicle, not by the production of it!. Food accounts for 10-30% of a household’s carbon footprint.

Not to forget!

  • There is disparity in the emission of CO2 per country and per level of income. Huge disparity!
  • The 7 years goal is used in different literature as a check point to check our progress and/ or to start seeing climatic effects
  • 350 billion tons are debatable. They were used as a safe number

What can this number is meaningful for?, if you have access to this blog and if you understand the topic here related, there is big chance that you belong to the portion of the population that produces the most CO2 and is now your responsibility to start acting accordingly. There are no second chances, only one. Let’s better do it right.

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