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Author Topic: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?  (Read 4402 times)

GeoffBeacon

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What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« on: December 28, 2017, 02:41:32 PM »
The Guardian's remaining carbon budget divided by Worldometer's current world population gives a remaining carbon budget per person in the world as 99.9 tonnes CO2e for a 2°C target

Quote
To have a good chance of keeping global warming under 2°C, there is only a finite amount of carbon pollution the world can emit – this amount can be thought of as a fixed budget amount, or quota.

Our countdown clock shows one estimate of how long it will take to reach an amount of greenhouse gas emissions beyond which 2°C of warming will be likely.

The Global Commons Institute has proposed Contraction and Convergence, which recognises that developed countries need time to cut their emissions. This means taking a bit more than a fair share of emissions. So

In different countries, what should reasonable individual remaining carbon budgets be?

Related questions..

1) Should we just give up on a 1.5°C target?

2) Since there has been arguments about what measure of temperature is relevant should targets carbon budget targets be linked to another measure like, say the accumulation of heat that Neven shows on his Arctic Sea Ice Blog?

3) Is it helpful to divide budgets according to activity. e.g. Buildings, transport, food and government?

4) Are current estimates of remaining carbon budgets believable?
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 05:11:50 PM »
Quote
Should we just give up on a 1.5°C target?
I immediately came up with a poll idea: this question with the following possible options:
  • Yes, we should give up on a 1.5ºC target.  It is functionally unattainable.  It's gonna get hotter, at least.
  • I refuse to be openly pessimistic. Just saying.

I think 2ºC is functionally unattainable due to the tragedy of the commons theory.
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Neven

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 09:07:06 PM »
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but does anyone here know about any good carbon calculators?
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Sebastian Jones

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 09:39:40 PM »
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but does anyone here know about any good carbon calculators?
Doubtless you have tried google- there are many calculators available.
Those that I have seen use approximations- average for your location, plus/minus things such as number of plane rides you take. The problem is that not all jurisdictions have very good stats on how much carbon is emitted- in Yukon we don't have targets for carbon emissions because we don't know what our emissions are.
The 99.9 tonnes that GeoffBeacon lists is a lifetime, forever amount. It does not take into account population growth either. So, if an average global citizen lives 50 years, that works out to two tonnes per year.....which, considering that simply flying from Toronto to a climate conference in N. Africa will produce over 3 tonnes....is unlikely to be achieved!

Artful Dodger

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 04:13:55 AM »
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but does anyone here know about any good carbon calculators?

Hi Neven, hi folks!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  -35°C at my place tonight, time to bring in the brass monkeys.

Happy holidays, everyone!

https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

Cheers, and Happy New Year!
Lodger
Cheers!
Lodger

numerobis

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2017, 07:05:22 AM »
The budget is zero. That’s what we can use sustainably.

That being the goal, every action should consider how to get there.

TerryM

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2017, 12:48:46 PM »
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but does anyone here know about any good carbon calculators?

Hi Neven, hi folks!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  -35°C at my place tonight, time to bring in the brass monkeys.

Happy holidays, everyone!

https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

Cheers, and Happy New Year!
Lodger


Wonderful to read your joyous holiday greetings, and back at you!


As to an American origin to the Brass Monkey phrase I can only report that it was within the lingua franca of the pre-teenage boys who loitered near the YMCA in Galt Ontario Canada in the late 50's. Whether this was related to the pyramids of cannonballs that at that time flanked our Crimean War cannon, and defended this neighborhood, is debatable.
The cannon remains in Queens Park, but the balls, the monkey, the YMCA, even the City of Galt now exist only in our memories.


Terry

GeoffBeacon

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2018, 11:14:37 AM »
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but does anyone here know about any good carbon calculators?

Does anyone know the location of the previous discussion?

I'm thinking of attending a day conference of the Town & Country Planning Association on new towns. There's a big one mooted between Oxford and Cambridge.

If build conventionally, the embodied carbon per dwelling could be enormous and even if the development is like existing "eco" developments the lifestyles of the residents are not likely to be very low carbon.

I'd like to know more so that I can ask

a) What will be the embodied carbon of the new town?
b) What are the predicted carbon footprints of residents?

Then I wish have some means for suggesting targets.  I think that should be somehow related to remaining carbon budgets.

Help!
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Sleepy

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2018, 05:24:31 PM »
Here are four Geoff, don't ask me about any of them, I've used the first one but that was a while back. Good? If I remember correctly, my conclusion then was that it's hard to make a calculator to work well for everyone.
http://ziemianarozdrozu.pl/apps/online/en/kalkulator.html#
http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/carboncalculator
https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx
http://www.myfootprint.org/

Edit; noticed a bit late that lodger already posted one but I'll just leave it there...
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2018, 06:33:27 PM »

Then I wish have some means for suggesting targets.  I think that should be somehow related to remaining carbon budgets.

Help!

Thanks Sleepy but targets is the bit I'm most interested in. If it costs 80 tonnes CO2e to make a place for a new resident in a new town how bad is that? Is there any academic work I can refer to to get a moral judgement? Or is the conceptual distance between morality and climate science too great?

Carbon calculators

A decade or so ago I set up The Green Ration Book with some friends so have some knowledge of carbon calculators.  We used a citizens' jury approach because we didn't trust many sources and we used some collective guesswork (aka judgement) having looked a tthe information available.  It's a pity we were not more successful - "How bad are bananas?" by Mike Berners-Lee was a bit similar but much more successful.

There is some good Lifetime Carbon Analysis around but the available calculators are rather opaque and don't help you much when you are shopping, traveling to work or planning a holiday.  They may just end up telling you a final tonnes CO2e per year.

 

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Sebastian Jones

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2018, 07:35:53 PM »

[/quote]

Thanks Sleepy but targets is the bit I'm most interested in. If it costs 80 tonnes CO2e to make a place for a new resident in a new town how bad is that? Is there any academic work I can refer to to get a moral judgement? Or is the conceptual distance between morality and climate science too great?

There is some good Lifetime Carbon Analysis around but the available calculators are rather opaque and don't help you much when you are shopping, traveling to work or planning a holiday.  They may just end up telling you a final tonnes CO2e per year.


[/quote]

Geoff, you raise a vey interesting point- how are we going to include the climate impacts of our actions?
To my knowledge, there is no really well developed method of calculating between options, at least not directly. Certainly very few planning processes do a very good job of it, and then we have political decisions that do not always decide that effective climate action is the best course. If the climate impacts of development decisions were clear and explicit, we would probably organize our societies quite differently....

Sigmetnow

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2018, 08:40:23 PM »
What should our individual target be?

So far, all I’ve found is:
“2,000 Watt Society vision, which urges rich nations to reduce their overall rate of energy use to 2,000 watts per person (17,250 kWh/person-year), the global average. The United States currently averages about 12,000 watts per person, whereas Bangladeshis average less than 500 watts.”
http://rcgb.rutgers.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/AndrewsFriis2012.pdf

And a reference to: Clark, Duncan (2006). ” The Rough Guide to Ethical Living”. Rough Guides Limited
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Bob Wallace

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2018, 10:14:20 PM »
What should our individual target be?

So far, all I’ve found is:
“2,000 Watt Society vision, which urges rich nations to reduce their overall rate of energy use to 2,000 watts per person (17,250 kWh/person-year), the global average. The United States currently averages about 12,000 watts per person, whereas Bangladeshis average less than 500 watts.”
http://rcgb.rutgers.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/AndrewsFriis2012.pdf

And a reference to: Clark, Duncan (2006). ” The Rough Guide to Ethical Living”. Rough Guides Limited

Longer term we do not need a daily wattage allowance.  We need a clean wattage system.  Electricity produced via renewable technologies and electricity powered transportation, heat, and manufacturing.

Being more efficient helps during the transition because it makes it easier to shut down fossil fuel plants quicker.  But long term efficiency won't be a big issue.  If you want to use more energy then just pay and more solar panels and wind turbines will be installed to meet the desire.

GeoffBeacon

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2018, 01:43:34 PM »


Bob Wallace
Quote
Longer term we do not need a daily wattage allowance...

I'm a little embarrassed with Had we but world enough and time. Using Herrick's poetry is a bit pretentious but the post does make the point that the real question is not whether we can get to a low carbon economy but whether we (or our descendants) can get there fast enough.

It's no good getting to zero carbon by 2100 because we (and our descendants) will have tipped the climate into an uncontrollable state.

The area under the graph is much more important than the final carbon emissions.

The area under the graph is the remaining carbon budget - and I suspect 816 Gt CO2 is an optimistic estimate for the 2°C carbon budget.

Sigmetnow, the reference you gave says

Quote
One of the objectives of ethical consumption is to consume less and
conserve resources by changing behavior, that is, by driving less, flying
less, eating less meat, and adjusting the thermostat so as to minimize
energy consumption; such changes in behavior can aid in slowing the
depletion of the earth’s limited resources.

That's a good start.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 01:50:09 PM by GeoffBeacon »
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gerontocrat

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2018, 02:31:17 PM »
As a species average per person carbon budgets need to be negative. Some people do achieve that by going out and planting lots of trees.
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Bob Wallace

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2018, 06:04:34 PM »
Quote
It's no good getting to zero carbon by 2100

So let's get there (or very close to there) by 2040. 

We now have the technology.  And if we switch to clean technology our electricity and transportation will cost less.

Total global energy from fossil fuels should now be under 80%.  Switch 4% of fossil fuel use to RE per year and we get to about 0% FF by 2040.

A very large percentage of our existing coal plants will be worn out before 2040.  Replace them with RE.

Essentially all our vehicles will be worn out by 2040.  Replace them with battery powered vehicles.

Just do it.

Neven

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2018, 10:13:25 PM »
I've never given a lot of thought to my (family's) carbon footprint, as I was convinced enough already that I needed to cut back as much as I possibly could. Now that I've come some way with that, it was a New Year's resolution of mine to try and translate all of it into numbers. Hence my question about good carbon calculators.

I had a look at several (I thought there would be way more), but they're terribly undetailed and all give different numbers. So, I thought about making a list of everything we do. I have a pretty good picture of housing and transportation, but goods and food are elusive. Thanks for the link to the Green Ration Book, Geoff.

My biggest problem, of course, is that I just don't have the time to do this the way I would like to. But I'm going to try. The first step is make an overview of different carbon footprint calculators out there and post the different results.
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wili

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2018, 12:11:28 AM »
Have you heard of the book "Radical Simplicity" by Jim Merkel. That's the most detailed footprint guide that I've seen (he has you weigh everything in your house). But it's not specifically a carbon footprint, iirc.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Neven

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2018, 01:09:30 PM »
Thanks, wili. I've just ordered the book (second hand version).
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A-Team

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2018, 02:43:25 PM »
Quote
I was convinced enough already that I needed to cut back as much as I possibly could.
Then there is the issue of the carbon footprint of how retirement funds, savings accounts, paypal balance and idle (it isn't) money sitting in a bank account are invested for you. For simplicity, assume third parties have put you in a global or S&P 500 ETF tracker. If so, perhaps just claim a proportionate share of annual excess global emissions.

Sigmetnow

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2018, 07:16:35 PM »
Climate Strange
The eco-obsessed often get labeled as weirdos -- even by their peers. Weird, however, is looking better and better.
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Su experienced a lot of resistance to both going vegan and zero waste when she started. A close friend and her mother, in particular, were insistent that they weren’t going to be converted by her behavior. But then, gradually, they began to adopt those practices themselves, sans any insistence or even encouragement from Su — simply by being around her. The friend started sending photos of how little trash she accumulated in a week; her mom became a devotée of the organic foods bulk section. ...
https://grist.org/article/embracing-do-gooders-weirdos-environmentalism-farmers-markets-composting/
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2018, 03:47:11 PM »
When I started this thread, I had hoped that it would provide some numbers associated with moral obligation. I hoped to work towards a table like
Remaining budget per person in terms of CO2e
BudgetMorality
1000Very very evil
500Very evil
100Shaming
50Forgivable
10Excellent
-10Something to aim at


I had in mind that the budget should last about 50 years.

Perhaps this can be dealt with by using an average person and follow the C&C methodology of the Global Commons Institute?

This may seem confused - that's why I'm asking for help here - but what other tools are there to put to policy makers to measure the correctness of their plans?

Will anyone else on the ASIF dare share their own table?

« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 01:49:30 PM by GeoffBeacon »
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Alexander555

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2018, 04:11:49 PM »
When I started this thread, I had hoped that it would provide some numbers associated with moral obligation. I hoped to work towards a table like
Remaining budget per person in terms of CO2e
BudgetMorality
1000Very very evil
500Very evil
100Shaming
50Forgivable
10Excellent
-10Something to aim at


I had in mind that the budget should last about 50 years.

Perhaps this can be dealt with by using an average person and follow the C&C methodology of the Global Commons Institute?

This may seem confused - that's why I'm asking for help here - but what other tools are there to put to policy makers to measure the correctness of their plans?

Will anyone else on the ASIF dare share their own table?


What does it means in a humans daily life to have a budget of lets say 500. Because i have no idea where that would bring me. What can you eat, what can you do, what can you do to warm your home.... Can you for example buy more budget by planting a forest, technicaly that would be possible, not ?

GeoffBeacon

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2018, 05:17:37 PM »

What does it means in a humans daily life to have a budget of lets say 500. Because i have no idea where that would bring me. What can you eat, what can you do, what can you do to warm your home.... Can you for example buy more budget by planting a forest, technically that would be possible, not ?

Alexander,

I'm sure you know this sort of stuff from Carbon Brief

Quote
The IPCC has previously laid out estimates of how much CO2 we can emit and still keep global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5C, 2C or 3C above pre-industrial levels. These are known as carbon budgets.

MCC Berlin give estimates of how fast we are running out of budget with their carbon clock. At the time of writing this for their medium estimate for staying under 2C there is just under 715 billion tonnes CO2 left.  With that shared between  world population (currently about 7.6 billion) that's less than 100 tonnes per person.

The question is:How much of this 100 tonnes CO2 do you feel entitled to?

Would you be ashamed to grab 200 tonnes and proud to only take 50 tonnes?

Personally, I would admire anyone that grabbed a 200 tonne budget but "paid for it" with a genuine 180 tonne offset. However this is personal morality not science and I was hoping for a range of moral judgements - moral judgments informed by scientific knowledge.
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Sebastian Jones

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2018, 05:39:24 PM »



The question is:How much of this 100 tonnes CO2 do you feel entitled to?

Would you be ashamed to grab 200 tonnes and proud to only take 50 tonnes?
..... I was hoping for a range of moral judgements - moral judgments informed by scientific knowledge.
Thank you for clarifying your question Geoff.
The only truly moral (and sustainable) carbon budget is, of course, zero.
If we pretend that aiming  for 2 degrees is a good idea and to achieve 2 degrees of warming the average person needs to spend 100 tons of carbon then the answer would logically be 100 tons.
In reality, 2 degrees of warming is very bad, and therefore spending 100 tons is very evil.
Anything above zero would be bad.
I'm not aware of any nation  that has credibly designed a policy to transition to a zero carbon economy, and certainly none have instituted laws and regulations to force its people to go along.

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2018, 12:02:03 AM »
The only truly moral (and sustainable) carbon budget is, of course, zero.

That's true, but reducing as much as possible, would buy time.

It's still my goal to make a thorough assessment of my family's carbon footprint, but I can't seem to find the time/energy. I bought the Radical Simplicity book and created a spreadsheet to note carbon footprints as calculated by a handful of carbon footprint calculators, but that's as far as I have come.
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2018, 01:45:03 PM »
I've modified the table so it now reads

Remaining budget per person in terms of CO2e
BudgetMorality
1000Very very evil
500Very evil
200Evil
100Shameful
50Forgivable
20Good
-20Excellent

It's now 7 categories - 3 either side of 'Shameful', the 100 tonnes CO2e mark. I did wonder about making it CO2 not CO2e because of the debate (and confusion) about short lived climate forcing agents(SLCPs) but that's probably a step too far for now.

The numbers in the order 'Excellent' to 'Very, very evil' can be written [-20,20,50,100,200,500,1000].

It would be very useful if there were some other estimates from people here then perhaps we could have a "ASIF Carbon Morality Measure" (ACMM?). I would like something like this to object to some planet destroying new plans that various town planners are hatching.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 02:33:27 PM by GeoffBeacon »
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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2018, 04:34:20 PM »
The most ecologically sustainable carbon budget would be that of the typical hunter gatherer of 10,000 years ago when we chased game and gathered wild plants and tubers. Not sure what this would be.

GeoffBeacon

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2018, 11:30:57 AM »
As a kite to fly on this topic - the morality of carbon budgets - I have put a post on one of my blogs, Are you evil or very evil?

Quote
The Science

The science isn't exact but it is reasonable to say:

Quote
Humanity can emit about 100 tonnes CO2e per person before the Earth's temperature rises 2°C above pre-industrial times. A rise of 2°C will cause changes in the natural environment but above 2°C there there will be much greater changes. These changes may see the deaths of billions of people and the extinction of many other species.

The Morals

Now let's apply moral judgement or “moral sentiments” as philosopher David Hume called them.
Quote
1. Killing billions of people is wrong.
2. Exterminating most other species is wrong.

This means

Quote
1. Emitting greenhouse gases is wrong.
2. The greater the emissions, the greater the wrong.

Emitting 100 tonnes CO2e per person is a “shameful” amount - because a 2°C rise will actually cause some very bad effects.  We can make a sample table linking carbon emissions with morality categories.

REMAINING CARBON BUDGET MORALITY INDEX


Any guidance would be appreciated.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: What should we have as individual carbon budgets?
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2018, 03:42:04 PM »
...
Any guidance would be appreciated.

I’m thinking you might need a multiplicative factor relating to the ability of the person to lower their emissions — wealth, availability of alternatives, physical requirements, etc.
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