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Author Topic: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?  (Read 3422 times)

sark

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I am looking for help from this invaluable forum which I have read for years.

My lifestyle has a carbon footprint of about 3 tonnes of CO2 per annum.  I've been living this way for most of the past 6 years.  I am interested in documenting a lifestyle that is "carbon neutral" today, using off the shelf equipment, traveling and living here in the USA.

I need to prove some math.

My question is: what amount of annual CO2 emissions from human activities would be possible without raising global PPM?
I am not a scientist

etienne

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2018, 10:22:52 PM »
I'm sorry to see that there is no response to a good question. I don't have an answer either, but I’m not sure that there really is one. Right now, I feel that we should be in « emergency modus », which simply means to drop CO2 production as fast as possible, even below the sustainable level because we need to see the global level going down. Well, when I see how I live, I might be better than others, but I’m far from the sustainable level, that’s sure.

We also have the question of the « fair share ». When kids where small, we had as first car a VW Caddy (I like to say that this type of car is a little bit the european pickup truck because it rains more often in Paris than in Los Angeles), now that we don’t need a stroller anymore, we have a Peugeot 208 which is much smaller. But this leaves us with an oversided second car than can carry 2 adults, 2 teenages, 2 dogs and the luggages for 2 weeks holidays. We do like everybody else, just with smaller motors, no 4WD, less luxury, prefer the smaller car… and keep the cars longer. Other people like my father in law probably don’t drives more than 1000 km a year In his case, he and his wife are retired and use mainly public transportation, excepted when heavy things have to be carried.

Well, what I wanted to say is that the needs are not the same at every stage of life and I believe that this has to be respected.

I tend to believe that most "climate change" policies are in fact "peak oil" policies, because reducing cars’s power and size is an obvious solution that is never applied, but houses have to be so well insulated that a friend of mine said that he uses more oil for the car than to heat a 4 people family, including sanitary water (20000km x 7liters/100 = 1400 liters). In the peak oil context, you need well insulated houses, and cars are not kept long enough to be an issue.

It's very difficult to go to a sustainable level when you are not alone, even more difficult with teenagers.

gerontocrat

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2018, 12:01:05 AM »

My question is: what amount of annual CO2 emissions from human activities would be possible without raising global PPM?
The Paris Accord assumes that sometime later this century net emissions will be negative (Carbon Capture) using forestation, land use changes and technology that does not yet exist or if it does with unknown side-effects.

My advice to you is the same as to me - keep looking around for relatively simple doable stuff that reduces your carbon footprint and make your local politicians' life a misery when they drag their heels on obvious environmental improvements.
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Neven

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2018, 12:22:09 AM »
I wanted to have a real in-depth look at my family's energy usage this year, but no time, and then our heat pump broke down again. The cooling fluid escapes, which has a GWP of around 1300, and thus my energy saving device has actually released out 1000 kg of CO2e twice now. So, I'm depressed.

I believe Geoff Beacon explained that each human being has a carbon budget of 100 tonnes of CO2, if we want to stay within 2 °C (or was it 1.5 °C). Average European is 10 tonnes per year. If you're at 3 tonnes, that's 33 years.
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sark

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2018, 01:09:38 AM »
Thank you for the responses.

As noted, looking at carbon budgets seemed to put it in the range of 2-4 tonnes per annum.  http://www.co2list.info/topics/goals

Is there another way to derive this value?  Can we quantify the global carbon sinks with any meaningful validity?
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Sebastian Jones

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2018, 01:41:22 AM »
Is there another way to derive this value?  Can we quantify the global carbon sinks with any meaningful validity?
This method may not be as scientific or rigorous as you want, but if you look at the monthly variation over a year, one can derive the amount sequestered as the northern hemisphere greens up in spring. This ought to serve as a rough proxy for the sustainable CO2 budget.In 2017, the peak monthly level was 409.65ppm in May and it dropped to its lowest in November at 405.14 for a drop of 4.5ppm. https://www.co2.earth/monthly-co2. We emit about 40M tons/yr which on average adds a bit over 2ppm per year. If the natural sequestering can reduce the concentration by 4.5ppm, that is like sequestering about 90M tons in six months. So that would be the theoretical maximum. Of course, to maintain the climate we have to reduce emissions to zero.

sark

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2018, 01:55:14 AM »
Is the sustainable emissions ZERO after the carbon budget is used up?  Or is the after budget emissions tolerance some quantity like 2 tonnes per annum?

Of course, we're talking about below ground carbon, or "new" carbon.

Is there hope that we can still produce technology after the carbon budget is used up, or is it essentially something that has to be offset with biomass?
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oren

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2018, 03:05:32 AM »
It's very difficult to go to a sustainable level when you are not alone, even more difficult with teenagers.
I feel this every day.

etienne

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2018, 07:22:23 PM »
It's very difficult to go to a sustainable level when you are not alone, even more difficult with teenagers.
I feel this every day.
When choosing products in a shop, they tell me that I'm greedy because I don't want the biggest product available. We bought a television for the world cup, and I refused to go above 105 cm diagonal.
I made T-shirt to make fun of computer games (Call of Duty https://schrondweiler.teemill.com/product/kallef-duty/ ) and of luxury goods ( https://schrondweiler.teemill.com/product/gutt-schi/) but they really don't get the joke. It's difficult to find the right way to talk about excessive consumption.

Bruce Steele

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2018, 12:56:48 AM »


"My lifestyle has a carbon footprint of about 3 tonnes of CO2 per annum.  I've been living this way for most of the past 6 years.  I am interested in documenting a lifestyle that is "carbon neutral" today, using off the shelf equipment, traveling and living here in the USA."

I need to prove some math.

My question is: what amount of annual CO2 emissions from human activities would be possible without raising global PPM?
[/quote]

Sark, I agree that 3T CO2 per annum is commendable but if your goal is " carbon neutral " then at some level you will need to sink carbon. Same problem IPCC models run into as we approach 2 degree climate goals.
 To achieve " Neutral Carbon " first you must achieve something close to zero ff carbon emissions . This is I believe an achievable goal although I can think of very few examples . Primitivism or Amish agriculturists are two examples.
 Sinking carbon via agricultural practices is very labor intensive without fossil fueled equipment to harvest carbon feedstocks ( fast growing softwoods ) and accumulate nitrogen sources for composting i.e. manure.
 Finding someone who both lives without uses of fossil fuel energy and at the same time composting
hundreds of pounds ( tons ) of compost is going to be quite the search and maybe that's why there hasn't been
any suggestions on where you should look.
 I believe I could get somewhere near the "neutral carbon goal " with biodiesel , pigs , acorns and a serious garden effort. The gardening effort would require carbon feedstock harvest of of riparian softwoods and manure harvest from chickens and pigs.
 The big problem with using mechanical power and internal combustion engines or photovoltaics is the energy embedded in the manufacture of these tools. That is why I think an honest attempt at zero carbon will require tons and tons of compost to break even on the embedded carbon costs of tools.
If photovoltaics manufacture is powered by renewable energy this problem diminishes but you still need to think about energy costs of mining , smelting and transport of metals.
 So if anyone has examples of people living "neutral carbon" I'd be as interested as you are in the numbers involved. Thanks for asking answers to the biggest , difficult problem out there . What Does Zero Carbon Look Like?

TerryM

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2018, 02:26:40 AM »
Zero Carbon Transportation.

Terry  ;)

Bruce Steele

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2018, 03:57:10 AM »
A poor man's Tesla

sark

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2018, 08:36:45 AM »
A poor man's Tesla

Poor man's Powerwall - and zero carbon transportation
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Stephan

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2018, 09:17:27 PM »
I try to live as CO2 neutral as possible. I try to avoid heating my flat in autumn and spring and wear an extra pull-over in winter at home. I buy only urgently necessary things and do not use airplanes for vacation if ever possible.
I have only one leg. Nevertheless I bought a tricycle (without any electrical support). I use it to go to work, for shopping and to go downtown. A possitive side-effect is that I do not have to search a parking space for my tricycle. I just put it there where I need to go.
And in my office I use the stairs and not the elevator. I work in the sixth story and it is only 90 steps up there. I take three of them with my crutches and my remaining leg in once and do - by the way - a little bit of sports...

bluesky

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2019, 09:27:26 PM »
This is extremely rare to see information about carbon, water, an biodiversity footprint on a food packaging, this the following information that I can read on the packaging of smoked trout bought in France and the trout was farmed in France: carbon footprint 828g, water footprint 2.2 litters, biodiversity : 0.76m2 equivalent of urban town for a year. All for 100g of trout. How does it compare with other food?

kassy

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2019, 12:27:25 AM »
biodiversity : 0.76m2 equivalent of urban town for a year.

What does that mean?

And what do they feed them and where do they get it? That is much more important.

Not sure how much these metrics are well intended but unclear or marketing. How do you get a 2.2l water food print? It´s what it actually drank?  :-\
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

TerryM

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2019, 12:46:51 AM »
biodiversity : 0.76m2 equivalent of urban town for a year.

What does that mean?

And what do they feed them and where do they get it? That is much more important.

Not sure how much these metrics are well intended but unclear or marketing. How do you get a 2.2l water food print? It´s what it actually drank?  :-\


Do fish leave carbon footprints or carbon finprints?
Do fish drink?
Do they get drunk?
If they fall over, what do they land on?


So many questions - so little thought.
Terry

bluesky

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Re: A reference personal carbon budget
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2019, 11:38:54 PM »
This is likely not completely a marketing driver as was an experiment driven by the French environmental minister
I am generally not positive with fish farming as requiring fishing stock (in this case 25 per cent all from sustainable MSC labelled fishing) and farming land (for seeds).
 The company has a few quality certification AFAQ AFNOR (respected French certification process) on energy(ISO 50001) and environment (ISO 14001)
May be Geoff will read the post and give his opinion as he has skills in carbon footprint and has been advocating for carbon footprint being disclosed for every food item.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 11:44:30 PM by bluesky »

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: What is a sustainable carbon footprint for every human alive today?
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2019, 06:10:36 PM »
What you need to know about carbon footprints
https://cnnphilippines.com/lifestyle/2019/9/8/carbon-footprint-environment.html
Quote
The center found that on average, one American household emits 8.1 metric tons of CO2e each year through food consumption alone. Yes, that's TONS. The production of food accounts for 83% of emissions, and its transportation accounts for 11%.
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS