The climate emergency and what to do about it
Tecnicalities by sector
Reduce your carbon footprint: 10% per year
We advocate that people reduce their carbon footprint by 10% per year.
This is in line with
1. the UN/IPCC SR15 report and a halving of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, which would require a 6% per year reduction, together with
2. the principle of equity where those who pollute the most reduce their emissions the fastest.
The evidence is that the purchasing decisions of a group of individuals can have a large effect. Fair trade is one example.
It has expanded enormously in the last few decades, all down to the personal purchasing decisions of individuals.
Our experienceWe started measuring our carbon footprint in 2006 for the year 2005: it was 11.9 tonnes equivalent CO2, i.e. not much less than the UK average of 13.4 tonnes - and we thought we were pretty environmentally aware!
We settled on a plan of a reduction of 10% per year - we considered more, but 20% per year seems difficult and would probably not be something that we could advocate to others. A smaller reduction e.g. 5% seemed half-hearted. So we settled on a 10% reduction per year i.e. to 90% of the previous year's target.
Initially we were on track:
After 2011, we reached half of our initial carbon footprint (and less than half of the average UK value). This was achieved via the changes of
None of this felt difficult.
From 2011, our plan has been to reduce at a rate of 4% per year, so that our footprint stays at less than half of the per person value needed to meet the UK Government's 2020 and 2050 targets.
We are finding this difficult, partly because of government inaction, in particular
First published: 2009
Last updated: 14 May 2019