7.4.2 School Boards/Schools


7.4.6 School Boards/Schools

How Can You Make Choices That Treat the Earth Well

Climate Change Calculators

Calculating Your Personal Carbon

Dioxide(CO2) Emissions Total Global CO2 Emissions (YEAR) ···················.. Total Canadian CO2 Emissions (YEAR) ··················.. Total Ontario CO2 Emissions (YEAR) ···················. Total “average Canadian” CO2 Emissions (YEAR) ············.. MY Total CO2 Emissions (CALCULATED) ·················. My Reduced CO2 Emissions Goal (INTENDED) ···············.


If we wish to keep the earth’s climate reasonably stable, it is becoming increasingly clear that everyone in the world’s developed countries (such as Canada) will need to contribute to an effort to lessen the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. There are many suggested activities on this disk that you can do to reduce your personal carbon emissions. But before selecting one or more, it is instructive to have an idea of the total carbon output from your daily routine. To help do this, there are a number of organizations which have identified the major contributors to carbon emissions in daily life, and devised ways to calculate the carbon dioxide (CO2 ) each of them generates. These tools are called Climate Change Calculators. They are available on the Internet, and provide software to help you work out a figure for your Personal Carbon Emissions. With an idea of your own carbon output, you will be better equipped to choose activities in different areas of your life where you would like to reduce it.

Two Climate Change Calculators

A growing number of climate change calculators are available (see reference below) to make people more aware of the carbon they generate in their daily lives. We have selected two examples here to help our readers calculate their Personal Carbon Emissions.

This Climate Change Calculator lets Canadians put a number on their personal CO2 emissions and compare them to the average for their province or territory. It then offers tips on ways to reduce green house gas emissions, and shows specific reductions for particular efforts. It also provides information on climate change, and useful links to other informative websites. Information on the Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development may be found at www.pembina.org. To learn more about the development of this simulation tool, visit http://www.sdri.ubc.ca/research_activities/active_climate.cfm Note: Using the Pembina Climate Change calculator may require downloads. This program needs Macromedia Shockwave to enable it to run, and the Calculator software itself. Depending on the computer setup you are using, these may take a little time to install the first time you use this tool. You will then have to log into the program to be able to use the Calculator. The first page into the Calculator is a map of Canada intended to offer facts on carbon dioxide emissions by province. Unfortunately, there is an error on this map, and clicking on the provinces does not currently yield any figures. There is, however, good introductory climate change information available by clicking on the two buttons. To set up a “scenario” or individual set of data, the Calculator begins with background information on province, number of people in a household, type of residence and number of vehicles. Personal carbon dioxide emissions are then calculated by visiting seven areas on a community map or corresponding list, covering home heating, hot water, appliances, local travel, out-of-town travel, recreation and waste. It is important to specify means of transportation and number of occupants of vehicles (including subways and buses) for each of four parts of the two travel sections in order to move to the next area. If all the data is entered, the Calculator offers a Climate Change Report. In this reviewer’s view, the results were confusing, partly because the type on the report screen appeared with some lines overlapping others, and partly because the “average emissions” were not expressed in time (per week? per month? per year?) to compare with the user’s. The results screen appears to have an error and not scroll through sections of data as it should. This tool is therefore flawed and although potentially interesting, needs work. Educators using this tool would be well-advised to practice with it in advance before introducing it to a class, to ensure that it works on their classroom computers, and that they have understood how to move through the Calculator and its menus. The World Resources Institute (WRI) United States http://safeclimate.net/calculator http://www.climcalc.net/eng/Calculator/start.html The World Resources Institute’s Safe Climate Carbon Footprint Calculator uses the image of a “carbon footprint” to describe an individual’s carbon dioxide output. The total carbon footprint measures the impact an individual’s lifestyle has on the earth’s living sytems. The average Canadian is responsible for approximately 17 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year (as opposed to an American 20 tonnes per person per year). The Safe Carbon Calculator can be used in either English or metric systems, and bases the calculation of the carbon footprint on the two areas of energy that make up the majority of most people’s CO2 emissions: home energy use and transportation. Carbon outputs are based on distances driven and fuel efficiency of cars, plus air distances traveled. There are added to home energy use, calculated by multiplying the number of kilowatt-hours of energy used (recorded on monthly bills) by the number of pounds of carbon dioxide produced per kilowatt-hour: This factor varies for each state or province, depending on the mix of power sources (nuclear, coal-burning generators, hydro-electricity, natural gas, and any Îgreen fuel’ alternatives such as wind or solar). Home heating is calculated based on fuel type (natural gas, oil, propane) and quantity, multiplied by a conversion factor to calculate carbon output. Gathering data for this Calculator requires some homework, such as gathering past bills from home electricity and heating suppliers, and estimating distances driven and flown. Total results are compared against a US monthly per capita average of 1,521 pounds of CO2. Questions to Ask:

  1. How do the greenhouse gas emissions of the average Canadian compare to a) those of Europeans? Those of people from developing countries?
  2. How does my own personal carbon output compare to that of an average Ontarian?
  3. What are my priorities to reduce my personal carbon dioxide output by one tonne to meet the Kyoto Challenge? (see One Tonne Challenge http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/onetonne/english/)
  4. How can I work towards this reduction in cooperation with others (family, friends, classmates, community)?

Resources A link to More Kyoto Efficiency Charts and Calculators Compiled by Guy Dauncey of Earth Future at www.earthfuture.com/senergy/kyotocharts/ ACTIVITY ACTIVITY 1

  1. See the One Tonne Challenge website for updated calculator and take the challenge http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/onetonne/calculator/english/

Answer the 4 Questions to Ask seen in the text.

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