How much carbon dioxide do I cause?

Calculate your personal carbon footprint online

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How much carbon dioxide do I cause? This question can now be answered within a few minutes. Together with the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg GmbH and avantTime Consulting GmbH, the Federal Environment Agency has put a CO2 calculator online in which everyone can estimate their global carbon dioxide footprint.

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Heating, electricity, buying habits, food, air travel and daily transportation: these are the big areas that the online computer records. With just a little data, everyone can roughly see how much CO2 he or she produces with his / her lifestyle. Around eleven tons are in the national average. The biggest chunks are living and air travel. A long-distance flight alone causes about five tonnes of CO2 per person - about half of the average annual consumption. This is not surprising. However, that even the diet, or production and transport of food caused many greenhouse gases amazes already rather. However, considering that cows produce a lot of methane gas, which is a 30 times stronger climate gas than CO2, it is understandable that the daily burger fuels the climate more than the breakfast cereal.

Who eats how much climate?

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The practical thing about the CO2 calculator is that you can see for yourself exactly how a change will affect, for example, public transport, a less meaty diet or regional foods. Also, the power guzzlers in the household can be converted to their climate impact. Thus, the predominant use of energy-saving lamps over conventional pears alone saves about 100 kilos of CO2 per year. Replacing the old fridge with an energy-saving new appliance saves another 100 kilos. To bring the dishwasher, washing machine, freezer and tumble dryer up to date saves around 220 kilos of CO2. A PC eats about 180 kilos a year, a 100-liter aquarium already about 300 kilos. All this can be seen in the calculator with a few mouse clicks. display

Climate protection saves money

Every kilo you save will be immediately reflected in your wallet at today's energy costs, but may require discipline or investment. Switching from the normal German electricity mix to green electricity reduces the carbon footprint for the power consumption of a one-person household from an average 820 kilos to 50 kilos - a weighty argument that requires no behavioral changes or large investments, even if green electricity is about two to three percent more expensive than the normal power mix.

One area that nobody can turn to personally is the approximately 1.24 tonnes that the state, so to speak, causes for each of its citizens by providing administration, education, roads, and so on. That's about half of the Federal Environment Agency's long-term declared acceptable value of about 2.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions per capita. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the average worldwide average is around 3.8 tonnes per capita. The industrial nations per se have a higher consumption. But the savings potential is huge here too. Up to 15 percent, according to some experts also up to 30 percent of the energy can be saved in Germany in the private sector by energy-saving measures without much effort. More efficient appliances and a conscious use of energy are the keywords for this.

It is precisely this conscious approach that can be stimulated by a check on the personal contribution to CO2 emissions. The calculator can be found here.

(Kirsten Achenbach, MARUM_Research Center Ocean Rims, University of Bremen / UBA, 30.08.2007 - DLO)