Reducing emissions - it starts at home.

I getting rather tired of well-meaning agencies and individuals calling for us to protest at big oil drilling more wells, big coal ripping our more coal, more nuclear plants being built (insane anyway you look at it) and new power stations being built.  Their ostensible objective is (I assume) to see global emissions of greenhouse gasses decline, to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate and the biosphere.  (Or is it their objective just to stick their heads in the Bear's mouth, and then complain bitterly about the resulting bad smell - the smell in Mr Putin's prisons?)

This is an attempt to put all the blame for our emissions onto the providers of the energy.  Its the same as putting the blame for problem drinking onto the bottle stores.

Folks, the problem is not with the pushers of this deadly CO2 drug, its with the users, us.  We have to kill the market for greenhouse gas emitting products and systems by reducing the demand, not by trying to attack the supply side.

Every man and woman on the planet Earth has to reduce their emissions to a level that will give Mother Earth the ability to return the concentration of greenhouse gasses to pre-industrial levels;  to around 250 ppm.

How much can we emit?


The answer is 1700 kg of CO2 per person per year  (1.7 tonnes of CO2 per person per year.).  This equates to 141.7 kg CO2 per person per month.

How do you calculate your CO2 emissions?

Your own version of the following sum will give you an idea.

(Litres of petrol x 2.39) + (Litres of Diesel x 2.64) + (Kilowatt-hours of electricity x 0.7) = kg CO2.

Note that the factor of 0.7 kgCO2 per kWh for electricity use is based on New Zealand's comparatively low-carbon electricity (64% hydro, wind and geothermal), so you may need to find the correct factor for you own electricity provider.

I calculate the emissions for our three-person household.  Over the last three months our emissions averaged 204 kg per person per month (53% from electricity use the remainder from diesel).  This is 144% of our allowed 141.7 kg emission target so we have to cut back some more- but we are doing much better than we were a year ago.  So we have just moved to a different dwelling right in the middle of town to cut our emissions back some more by living in a smaller and more energy efficient place, and reducing the need to drive the car or use the bus to get to shops, entertainment and university, and to business appointments.

So when we have our emissions down close to 1.7 tonnes per person per year we will then (and not until then) start to suggest that others do the same.

Let me know how you get on.