Three trees to offset my carbon output
By Murray Bourne, 23 Dec 2006
We have to do more to reduce carbon emissions. Why do we continue to stupidly dirty our own nest?
You can determine your own carbon footprint (the amount of carbon dioxide that you personally pour into the air) at carbonfootprint.com.
My own footprint is quite low. I live near my work and I don't own a car. Singapore's high car costs have helped this decision.
We use public transport and taxis, and our electricity use is quite minimal since we rarely use the air-conditioner (not like Singaporeans who have been brought up in 16°C conditions - and cannot cope if you turn off the aircon. Crazy, really.)
According to the carbon footprint calculator, I am responsible for 8,156 kg of carbon dioxide per year, which is below the UK average of 10,963 kg. For the "primary footprint", which includes use of gas, coal, oil, electricity, private car, public transport and holiday flights) I am under half of the UK average (2,206 kg CO2 compared to 5,013). They suggest that for me:
You can offset your full household primary carbon footprint by planting 9 trees or offset your personal carbon footprint by planting 3 trees.
What is missing from their calculation is the amount of CO2 we add from our own breathing. One estimate (from an anti-global warming protester) says we produce
300 grams CO2 per person per day
This amounts to about 110 kg per year. Okay, not so significant, compared to all the other sources.
As our climate changes, we have to take all this more seriously. For those of you who are still doubting, go take a look (if you can see anything through the muck) at China's pollution levels. Take a look at the increase in their asthma levels and all the other pollution-related diseases that the West has suffered ever since the industrial revolution. Have a look at thawing permafrost, arctic ice and glaciers, not to mention desertification. Then tell me it doesn't matter. Then tell me it's going to be a good thing if winters are warmer. Then tell me your SUV is more important than your children's oxygen.
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