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Discussion > Carbon Footprint Calculations - Carbon Indulgences

There are a number of on line carbon footprint calculators available. Google is your friend here.

These typically ask you a few lifestyle questions, then give you a household carbon dioxide emissions estimate of a few tons per year and then suggest that you buy a partial or full carbon offset FROM THEM!. I suggest below that we might benefit from the commercialisation of a similar scheme. I am sure that this suggestion has come up many times before.

I recently invested in a copy of Mike Berners-Lee's book "How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything" see

The discussion of such issues is, to me, quite interesting.

For a specific example related to the carbon dioxide emissions from petrol or diesel I found

This suggests 14.3 kg of carbon dioxide are produced from one gallon of fuel. To quote them

"The calculator uses a factor of 14.3 kg CO2 per gallon.
Carbon dioxide arises from
• the burning of fuel
• fossil fuel energy used in oil extraction
• energy used in oil refining
• construction of cars and their maintenance
• construction of roads and their maintenance"

It was my intention to create my own virtual carbon credit "currency", underwritten by real carbon offsets but it seems that this idea, based specifically on the model of the purchase of religious indulgences by sinners in Medieval times is already widely in use.

However if BH readers have an interest in carbon offsets surely that would be an interesting source of revenue?

Nov 29, 2015 at 4:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterIantanyrallt

Personally I'm not overly impressed by Carbon Credits. I think that there's too much emphasis in the revenue/profit and not enough on, for want of a better expression, making the most of modern technology for saving the world. Like a couple of people I know I grew up in a house without electricity, and any other mains services. We didn't have refuse collection until the late 1980s, after I had moved to civilisation. Cooking on a Rayburn and two ring Calor Gas hob; Four miles to the nearest bus/village three speed Sturmey Archer making the climb home slightly easier. Reducing your carbon footprint, if you think CO2 is a problem, is very hard work.

In my view Carbon Credits are just buying indulgences, as you imply in the title, and make the church of global warming wealthier.

Having said that if someone wants to live by renewables and bicycle then as long as they do it without putting their hands in my pocket then good luck to them and I wish them only mild winters.

Nov 29, 2015 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

A con, they just allow idiots like prince chuckles to think he can carry-on his lifestyle while preaching the opposite to the plebs. Well you are supposed to get back to stone age energy consumption so that must mean stone age monarchy too. Prince chuckles had better start sharpening his stone axe as spider memos don't work.

Nov 29, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

As I asked elsewhere, what is the 'carbon offset' (in GBP, euros, US dollars or whatever) for a gallon of four-star?

And what is the 'carbon offset' for 100km hitch-hiked?

If I spend £100 on a 'carbon offset', whose trouser pocket does it finally end up in? [just asking - I have no idea]

Nov 29, 2015 at 9:20 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I’d have thought by definition that sceptics are unlikely to either want or respect carbon offsets. We don’t believe in the god, why would we need indulgences for our fictional sins?

On a more practical note, most offsets are not worth the recycled paper they’re printed on. They tend to revolve around things that would have been done anyway, ephemeral effects or persuading the less fortunate from developing. If someone believes that reducing CO2 should be done then they should get on and do it. Personally. Have less, do less, go less. It's not rocket science.

Nov 29, 2015 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

TinyCO2 - I was wondering if I could sell my own "Martin A Carbon Offsets" (on Ebay perhaps) if I reduced my CO2 production - eg by switching on the EDF nuclear powered radiators instead of burning stuff in the stove?

And BoFA - please don't be so critical of our future king. I understand he runs his Aston Martin on alcohol produced from surplus (or unsellable) wine his estates produce. How many other CO2-botherers can say they do that?

Nov 29, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

Only if I can sell the offset of me not flying. I haven't flown since 2007 (no reason, just stuff happening) that ought to be worth a lot of offsets for somebody.

Nov 29, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Here's a lifestyle question for you, Iantanyrallt

have you stopped beating your wife?

By all means "create (your) own virtual carbon credit "currency", underwritten by real carbon offsets" and then put it where the sun doesn't shine.


Nov 30, 2015 at 2:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer