Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Carbon Slimmer!

Despite the rallies and vigils, and fasting for a day, I got no satisfaction from the Copenhagen climate conference. No one did. No legally binding treaty was set. Much blame was placed on the West, but one reporter from the UK’s Guardian newspaper blew the whistle on China - How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room, by Mark Lynas

On the horizon in Canada is Bill C-311, about to go into third reading. When passed it will become the Climate Change Accountability Act and set legally binding science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets. Let your MP know you want them to support Bill C-311.

I’m Carbon Slimmer!
‘Tis the season to calculate my annual carbon footprint. At the start of each year I visit Zerofootprint’s carbon calculator to assess my travel, eating and home energy habits. I want to see how my carbons slimming measures are paying off.

I can tell you, I was a very good girl in 2009. I stepped on the carbon weight scale and measured 4.5 tonnes of C02!! Last year, I was at 7.8 tonnes.

I lost almost half my carbon weight!

Imagine the before and after shots of me on a carbon weight loss program. It would go something like this: BEFORE: Split photo of me in two planes. AFTER: Me in one plane.

Of my 4.5 tonnes, 2.21 constitutes my flight to Vancouver last year. Without that flight, my footprint would have been 2.29 tonnes.

Travel makes up the biggest chunk of my carbon footprint at 3.64 tonnes altogether, with household heating and electricity making up 2.68 tonnes (heating comes in at 2.26). I got nano tonnes from eating local and organic food – they take points off for very good behaviour; however, our four cats contributed to close to a tonne thanks to their voracious appetite for canned meat.

Energy Retrofit Savings
Jane and I took a big step forward this past year with our energy audit and subsequent retrofits. We had a high efficiency furnace and high performance windows and doors installed. We also had Green$aver insulate our walls and attic.

Did all this work make a difference? I compared the gas bills from October to December 2009 with those from the year before. In 2008 we used 650 cubic meters of gas during that time period. In 2009 that figure dropped to 367. It’s a significant decrease, and I strongly recommend homeowners to take advantage of the federal EcoEnergy program.

Carbon Footprints from around the World
According to Zerofootprint, the average person in Canada produces 9.8 tonnes of C02 every year. In 2009, my contribution was less than half that. How do I compare to the average person in other countries?

India – 1.4 tonnes
China – 1.8 tonnes
Mexico – 3.4 tonnes
Germany – 5.8 tonnes
Denmark – 5.9 tonnes
United States – 12.6 tonnes

Believe it or not, the average worldwide per capita footprint needs to resemble that of the average person from India – at this point in time. Lord help us all if their footprint resembles ours. We'd need four more earths just to get by.

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