There are different ways to calculate the carbon footprint of an individual. If you have tried out more than one calculator, you have probably noticed that the questions differ and so do the results. The quick answer to this is that it depends on which data the calculator is based off, and what assumptions are made. For the GoClimate calculator, we have explained the rationale between the choice of underlying data and the calculations that we base the tool on in the Methodology, which can be accessed HERE
If there is anything in the methodology that you find questionable, please reach out to us! Let us know if you disagree, have a better source of data for something, or how we could improve. The calculator will change over time because emission factors are updated regularly, which means that your result can change in the future. It could also change if we find better data or an even better way to calculate. These adjustments are however most likely minimal, and the biggest change is what you do yourself!
We calculate Food with general values from a UK study, Flights are calculated with our own API, Car with emission factors provided by national sources (so that differs depending on where you are), and Housing are the most complex calculations based on national data on energy and electricity usage and national emission factors. To this, we add a national average for Personal consumption which is the clothes, furniture and other things you purchase, and a buffer for Public consumption which is infrastructure, hospitals, education etc.
Civil disobedience is something that is not very common in Sweden, and is associated with being rowdy and uncompromising. Many believe that we have a well-functioning society where it is the individual’s duty to follow the law and maintain order. Can that be true, while there are also reasons to not comply? If so, could the climate be such an issue? We at GoClimateNeutral believe that the climate crisis is so big that we need to explore all ways to act on it, and with this post we want to inform about one method already applied, both to create understanding of it and at the same time inspire one another to find new ways to get engaged that suits everyone.
Civil disobedience is defined as the citizen’s active refusal to comply with a law or an order from the government, in order to change society. It is a non-violent method to highlight that something in society is morally wrong, and therefore one does not agree to be involved in it. Resorting to civil disobedience as a method can be seen as a last resort, when the formal paths to drive change have not worked.
What can be important to bear in mind when considering whether civil disobedience is a good or bad method of social change, is that it is difficult to imagine a change before it has happened. What would the United States look like without slavery? How would England work if women were allowed to vote? Today, we generally agree that slavery is wrong and voting rights are a right regardless of gender, and using that reasoning we must also assume that in a hundred years’ time our grandchildren will be living in a society that has undergone even more changes. Moreover, the pace of change seems to be accelerating rather than slowing down, so it is reasonable to believe that we are not living in the most highly developed form of a human society yet.
What has civil disobedience actually accomplished historically? Perhaps the most well-known example is Mahatma Ghandi’s struggle for India’s independence from British colonial power, which included a long march in which he broke the salt law. Another person who today is praised for her courage is Rosa Parks, who refused to leave her seat on the bus in Montgomery to let a white passenger sit. Women’s suffrage is another example of what has been accomplished, however that struggle did involve violence. It can thus be individuals as well as groups and movements who perform civil disobedience, but neither Ghandi nor Parks acted alone.
In 2018, Greta Thunberg sat down outside the Swedish Parliament to strike for the climate. She thus violated the Swedish Education Act, arguing “why should we study for a future that is being taken away from us?”. Greta is perhaps a special case in civil disobedience because she does not violate the law that she believes is the problem, but does so to raise another issue. We at GoClimateNeutral are convinced that Greta’s morality is right, and that we as a society must change to live in accordance with it. The fact that Greta is a child who is not going to school has undeniably been a thorn in the side for many around the world. The fact that she has become the front person of Fridays For Future, where millions of children around the world follow her example and strike from school, is both proof of the reach that civil disobedience can achieve and the seriousness that today’s children and young people feel about the climate issue.
Within the environmental movement, Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion are two organizations that use civil disobedience to call for attention and push environmental issues. Greenpeace’s actions often target large companies and directly block operators from engaging in environmentally harmful activities, while Extinction Rebellion’s actions have instead intended to cripple society and influence the masses by blocking bridges and roads. Both organizations are considered controversial, although many believe that their work highlights major problems that we have to handle.
How you choose to engage yourself in the climate issue is your own choice, and we at GoClimateNeutral hope that we can contribute to a transition to a sustainable society as quickly as possible. Committing civil disobedience is a method that has had a major impact historically on important issues, and it is already part of the environment and climate movement. Civil disobedience continues to be a relevant option because it is clear that systemic changes are not occurring at the pace necessary to secure a habitable planet in the not too distant future.
Have you wondered what the climate footprint are for different ways to travel? How big is the difference between flying and taking the train? Now you can use our new travel emissions calculator to see the different emissions from different modes of transportation.
You can easily see that climate emissions from flying and petrol and diesel cars are a lot higher than going the same trip by train or an electric car. The difference between flying and train is quite mad when you start thinking of it.
We at GoClimateNeutral listen a lot to podcasts! It’s a brilliant way to learn new things, when sometimes it can be demanding or impractical to read books and some of us actually get restless by watching movies. In addition, it is nice to be accompanied by someone who talks to you when you are out walking, cooking or just being alone at home. So now we thought we’d share our top tips on podcasts about the climate!
Note that the Swedish version of this post has more recommendations to podcasts in Swedish, and links to the podcast episodes that feature our founders Kalle and Cissi!
There is a Swedish podcast called Klimatpodden which also features episodes in English. However, it’s not possible to filter for them, so you have to do some digging. But it might be worth the effort – the episode with Kevin Anderson was what convinced Cissi to stop flying! The podcast is arranged in interview format, where you get to listen to inspiring people ranging from researchers and politicians to entrepreneurs and activists who are engaged in fighting climate change. It really shows that anyone and everyone can and should do what they can to help the climate!
A tip from Kalle is the podcast My Climate Journey by Jason Jacobs, a software developer who sold his successful company (Runkeeper) and was looking for deeper meaning to life when he stumbled upon climate change. In his quest to understand the issue he talked to many experts, and those interactions developed into a podcast where we can jointly learn about the subject and get inspiration for what we can do to contribute to the solution.
Tove recommends The Wardrobe Crisis – a podcast for those interested in fashion and who want to know more about how fashion and culture are related to sustainability, ethics, activism and the environment. It’s so inspiring to see people who are willing to drive change within their industry! And there are many episodes for those who are not trend geeks too 🙂
If you instead are very interested in the energy issue (or have a specific query), it might be worth listening to The Interchange about the global energy transition! It was recommended to us by a friend who works with renewable energy – gracias! 🙂
Another one of the more niche podcasts out there is Resources Radio on the topic environmental economics, with episodes on global emissions trading and how the oil market is affected by COVID-19. Great source if you want to understand the interconnection between the climate and the global market, which can be super hard to grasp on your own.
A broader approach to topics in the environmental field is offered by the BBC podcast Costing the Earth. It deals with current issues discussed by leading experts who are working for a cleaner and greener planet. If you want to know more about how COVID-19 affects the climate, plastics, or what would happen if the whole UK went vegan, this is the podcast for you!
Alexandra and Emma are both very fond of the Swedish radio show SRs Sommar & Vinter i P1, where selected Swedes get one hour to talk about whatever they want. One of our idols in the climate field, the world renowned scientist Johan Rockström, made an episode that is just perfect about this – and it is available in English!
We also have a recommendation from a member of our community, who shared Not Cool – A Climate Podcast with us! Thanks a lot! It’s an American podcast which digs deep into serious aspects of climate change, such as tipping points, national security and information gaps. We will definitely give this one a try!
Isn’t it impossible to get bored when there is so much to listen to! What are your best climate podcast recommendations? Leave a comment to your community!
In the sustainability movement, we are a dedicated bunch who choose to complicate our lives out of the conviction that it is necessary to make the world a better place. Then, we try to make the non-believers join us by convincing them that it’s fun and easy, and you save money too! Right?! It is an appealing narrative and there is definitely truth to it, but we who try to break new ground also get exhausted from walking through a jungle of resistance.
My old laptop was giving up on me. I had bought it in 2013, and have carried it across continents, literally. It had worked in the heat in southern Africa, in the hights of the Andean mountains and in the dampness of Brussels. I had already replaced the screen (I bought a replacement on Amazon and had my friend perform surgery on it for hours) and exchanged the battery once, but I could no longer resuscitate it.
I was offered to buy a Macbook second hand from a friend, some nine months ago. And he had told me there was some issue with the keyboard but he also gave me a discount to account for that. So I paid 2500 sek (approx 250 usd) for the computer, knowing that a repair could add another 2000 sek (200 usd). I was happy to have found a second hand computer, knowing that the production and mining for minerals is a dirty business that I don’t want to support if I can avoid it. Sure, the computer was old, but in good condition and given that I am not a heavy user, I thought I’d be fine.
When I started working for GoClimateNeutral a few months later, they asked me if I needed a computer. But as I had just gotten the Macbook, what was the point of buying another one? That would totally defy my purpose of trying to save resources.
I was fine, for a little while. Then, the number buttons stopped working. Given that a lot of my work is done in Excel, this became a big hindrance. I prayed that it would go away, but of course it didn’t and I had to hand it in for service. It took them some 10 days, but they exchanged some parts and charged me 2280 sek (230 usd) and I thought, ok, now I’m fine. Except the problem came back the following week and now I’m being charged another 2200 sek (220 usd) to replace another part. Adding it up, it’s costing almost as much as a new Macbook, and I am now on my third week of working on a borrowed laptop that is… far from ideal.
About a year ago, I broke my beloved Kindle reading tablet. Living abroad, I used it a lot to read books I couldn’t get hold of in store. I still spent 6 months trying to figure out if I could fix it (warranty expired), if it was worth ordering a new screen from Hong Kong, if I could buy a second hand one (the guy in the sales group ghosted me when I asked too many questions so I’m guessing it might have been stolen)… In then end, I found that Amazon actually sells refurbished items. I ordered one from there but since they don’t ship to Sweden, I had it sent to a friend in the UK. Once I could pick it up, turns out the model I had ordered (the only one available) is older than the one I was used to and it has no back light, which seriously reduces the usability for me… so I actually read less now than I did before.
All of this leaves me with frustration and a bitter taste. I wish I did not have to deal with this, but electronics have become a necessity in society. My argument to keep pushing for this is that I genuinely believe that to make the world a better place, it is my duty to act in accordance with my values especially when it is uncomfortable. Change is not just gonna happen, someone has to do it. Someone has to create a demand for those second hand products, for the replacement parts, for the service centers. I’m that someone.
So now that my phone is becoming too tired to handle new apps, and I have spent the winter in Stockholm freezing my fingers off waiting for the maps to load, I’m searching for a second hand one. I’m hopeful about the Swedish company Inrego who sells second hand, refurbished electronics, and I’m consulting my tech-savvy colleague. Because that is who I am – the hippie eco-warrior who choose discomfort to live in harmony with my values and the hope to make the world a better place. Please join me.
We have recently almost doubled the number of team members at GoClimateNeutral, with three new co-creators that allow us to proceed even faster and more efficiently towards our goal of creating a better tomorrow and a healthier planet.
Alexandra Palmquist is GoClimateNeutral’s climate advisor who came to us from the United Nations Development Programme in Bolivia, where she worked on climate and environmental projects. Previous positions include the European Commission in Belgium and the NGO We Effect, where Alexandra was stationed in Mozambique. Alexandra will work with measuring and reducing both individual and corporate climate impacts, and review of the climate projects we finance. Outside of work Alexandra recharges her energy by going running or dancing tango!
Tove Westling is the founder of the London-based PR agency VARG, which has worked with the establishment of brands such as Dagmar, DAY Birger et Mikkelsen, Filippa K, CDLP and Samsøe Samsøe on the British market. Tove has also been responsible for the agency’s focus on sustainability, and managed Vestiaire Collective’s PR in Scandinavia. With us, she works primarily with increasing climate commitment both locally in Scandinavia and globally. Beyond the climate issue, Tove’s heart is pounding for animal rights, above all with a commitment to stray dogs around the world.
Emma Bäckström is a trained civil engineer in media technology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and has most recently worked as a developer at Mentimeter. At GoClimateNeutral, in addition to development, she also works with user experience and product development of our web service. In addition to saving the world, Emma wants to pet dogs and go running in the woods!
Besides the fact that we find it so exciting to have a living, growing team, we are extremely happy about what climate benefits this entails – as we can see that the number of co-creators is directly related to how much difference we make for the benefit of the climate. In 2017 we contributed to 660 avoided tonnes of CO2e per co-creator, in 2018 18, 000 avoided tonnes and in 2019 36,670 avoided tonnes per co-creator. We look forward to expanding the team further in 2020 and thus make even more positive difference!
Why digital meetings? Well, the transport sector is the fastest growing contributor to climate emissions, currently responsible for 14% of the total co2-emissions in the world. It is clear that weneed to decrease transport emissions drastically if we are to reach the Paris Agreements goals – to limit global warming to below 2 degrees.
The good news is that there are many simple things we can do to decrease these emissions; things that we as consumers and businesses can act on right now.
One of the easiest things we can do – that not only helps stop climate change but also can save us money and time – is to simply travel a lot less. For companies doing business where meeting people face to face is key, this means swapping from physical to digital meetings.
And even for the ones of us not yet affected by the urgency of the climate crisis, in the current day and age of the Corona virus, digital meetings have never been more relevant.
So how to do good digital meetings?
Choose a good video-service. At GoClimateNeutral we use google-meet and whereby.com, but there are lots of other similar services available. Our experience are that these services have improved drastically the last couple of years, coping with disconnects and audio-discrepancies a lot better than good old Skype did 10 years ago.
Secure a good internet-connection. This is a must. There are few things as frustrating as interruptions during the meeting, compromising the flow of the talk and increasing the risk of misunderstandings. One thing that helped us with this aspect was to switch the wifi-channel, so it’s a different channel than the other wifis in our office-building.
Get a high quality camera, microphone and speaker. For meetings with multiple participants this is also a non-negotiable. At GoClimateNeutral we were sponsored by Konftel with a brand new C20Ego-kit. We are delighted with the increased quality of video/audio and thereby the improved overall experience of our meetings as a whole. Thank you Konftel!
Make sure everyone can participate on equal terms. This means, even if you have only one person joining on distance, you cannot use a whiteboard that this person cannot see or contribute to. Resolve this by using tools like Miro, the virtual whiteboard! Everyone needs to have equal access.
Partner up! Another system that works well for us when we have only one person remote is to use a Buddy in the real meeting, who ensures that the remote collaborator is effectively included, and uses their computer as the channel for communication (the video connection).
If you’ve already taken a carbon calculator test, you should know approximately what the emissions are for your diet. If not, here’s a list of different ways of eating and how big or small the carbon emissions are per person per year.
The charts above are very clear and it might not come as a surprise to many of you that a plant-based diet is more climate-friendly.
Now, I’m not going to push you all to become vegan. But I do hope you will try to eat fewer animal products and more plants. It’s better for your health, the animals and the planet.
Meat production has increased 4 times in the last 50 years. And in many countries, it is common to eat some sort of meat with every meal – breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.
UN experts say that to be able to eat meat in a sustainable way, we should rather aim for having meat for ONE meal a WEEK.
Cow and lamb meat are the worst when it comes to environmental impact and should be cut down dramatically to reduce your personal emissions.
But it’s so much bigger than just about the amount of CO2 it creates. It’s not even all about the greenhouse gases (cow farts release high quantities of methane gas, which is many times more potent than carbon dioxide).
The consumption of animal products is also the main cause of deforestation in the rainforest. One of the planet’s most vital “lungs”, which captures the CO2 to then release oxygen. So the animal agriculture both emits an immense amount of greenhouse gases and remove the natural machines that suck CO2 from the air. It’s a double negative that doesn’t become a positive.
Another part of animal agriculture that worries experts is the high usage of antibiotics, which increases the risk of bacterias building up a resistance to it.
Did you know that 1/3 of all food that is produced for humans goes to waste? Tossing out edible food that took both resources like water, land use and creating greenhouse gases. Just imagine how much CO2 could be saved if we could stop food waste!
But of course, not all food waste happens in the home by us, the consumers. Edible food is first wasted when they don’t fit the aesthetic criteria (being too small, too big or too wonky). And then supermarkets sometimes order more food than they then accept, leaving literally tons of edible food going to waste before it even has a chance to be sold. And then as many of us are already aware of, many grocery stores throw away edible food to either make room for new items on the shelves. One broken egg makes the whole box being thrown away or when one of many vegetables or fruits in a pre-packaged bag is bad, they are all thrown away. Or perhaps it’s food related to holidays like Christmas or Easter that aren’t interesting for consumers after the holiday is over. It’s also common for products to be thrown away when it gets to close to “best before”-date even though the food will be good to eat long after that set date.
It’s calculated that in Sweden, the average worth of edible food thrown out each year per person is €400-600. Not only will minimizing your food waste save the planet, but it will save your wallet too. What would you do with an extra €400-600/year?
Where your food was produced, packaged and shipped from also matters. Some food is flown in, others are shipped by cargo ships and others can be produced locally to where you live!
Try to opt for a diet with products that can and is being grown in the country where you live, or as close to it as possible.
If you opt for food that is in season, it’s both cheaper and there’s no need to grow it in energy-intensive greenhouses. Of course, eating seasonally and locally is the best, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that not all food that is shipped from overseas is in season from where it was grown either. So try to learn, or print a guide that shows you what food is in season when to make it easier for you to plan your meals accordingly.
How it is grown
In the hunt of creating genetically perfect crops and crops that aren’t attacked by any type of insects, the soil was left out of consideration. Monocrops and pesticides stripped the vital soils of nutrition and biodiversity, leaving it unable to
“Conventional wisdom has long held that the world cannot be fed without chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. Evidence points to a new wisdom: The world cannot be fed unless the soil is fed.”
And this is where Regenerative Agriculture comes in.
Unhealthy/dead soil can’t absorb and hold carbon, the ability to hold and infiltrate water decreases which leads to higher risks of drought and floods. The earth also loses its nutritional value and this leads to a loss in life and biodiversity in the soil which makes it hard to impossible to grow food.
When soil is healthy it absorbs carbon, helping to fight climate change. Healthy soil also holds and attracts water more easily. When the soil is healthy the biodiversity and nutrition it high, making it great for growing food.
This means that the way we grow things can either be part of the cause of creating climate change or be one of the most efficient ways to fight it.
Try to research if there are any farms in your country or near you that do regenerative farming and try to support them.
If you want to learn more about Regenerative Agriculture, you can join the nonprofit community Kiss the Ground.
Plastic has gotten a terrible reputation when it comes to food packaging. And in many cases, the plastic packaging is unnecessary and non-recyclable but what a lot of people miss in this discussion is that the emission of the plastic packaging is tiny compared to the carbon footprint of what is IN the packaging.
Meaning that if the plastic packaging keeps the food fresh for longer and therefore minimizes the risk of food waste, it is saving the planet.
Now, there are of course other issues with plastic than the carbon footprint. It is made from fossil fuels and can’t biodegrade, which basically means it will never disappear completely once its been made. And even if the plastic is recyclable, it should rather be called downcycling, as it can only be recycled very few times, and each time it loses its quality until it is no longer usable.
So when it comes to products that won’t go bad quickly, getting it package free is the best option. But if it comes to fresh produce that quickly go bad – plastic doesn’t necessarily have to be that bad. If it does keep your food waste down, that outweighs the downside to the footprint of the packaging.
What is the most important action one can take for the climate in 2020? Well, different actions have different effects. Try to think big. If it feels awkward to go out in the streets and demonstrate or contact politicians, take a digital course in climate action instead to get an understanding for what the most important thing you can do is.
Become an active citizen and put pressure on systems, rules and norms to change. You can do this by:
Think BIG! Take a free digital quick course – the Climate Leader – in how you can influence at a system level.
Influence your tenant owners’ association. Ask them for example to install solar panels and chargers for electric vehicles, improve insulation to lower your energy consumption, change into renewable electricity and introduce sharing services like carsharing. In addition to having a lower climate footprint, it also makes your apartment block more attractive and resilient for the future.
Put pressure on your workplace, your university or school. Ask if they have a climate-smart travel policy in place, if they can introduce a veggie first policy and advise them on calculating their climate footprint. We have developed a tool for that here.
Support End Ecocide to make large-scale environmental degradation a crime. Fracking is one example that could potentially count as ecocide. Sign petitions, make a donation so that small island nations can afford to have representatives in place at international climate negotiations or get involved in the movement locally.
Contact your political party and demand that they adopt a policy in line with the Paris Agreement.
Become a conscious consumer. Reduce your own climate footprint and gain better knowledge of which area you should focus on. What makes the biggest difference for the climate – replacing the car with a bike for distances under 3 km or recycling every single package? Below we list what has the greatest climate impact for an individual.
Think half. Do half of the things that have the biggest carbon footprint in your life – eat half as much red meat, fly half as many times, buy half of the apparel and footwear you normally buy and use your car half as much. Or, focus twice as much on of what has a low climate footprint. Maximize your cycling, your train holidays and your vegan eating (tips – try Veganuary). Choose ONE area to focus on and it is more likely that it will happen.
Become a circulator instead of a consumer. Start using sharing services for stuff and transportation.
Check out the performance of your financial institutions at FairFinanceGuide and use your influence to demand change. Financial institutions like banks and insurance companies can use your money to facilitate the destruction of our planet by investing in for example coal companies. Ask them to stop doing that!
We have now offset another 50,000 ton CO2eq in a Gold Standard certified project! Thank you for taking part in this!
Renewable energy has to make up a larger share of the market globally, which is why we are now financing the Belen Wind Project in Turkey. The major purpose of the project activity is providing electricity from renewable sources to the rapidly growing Turkish electricity market.
The project is expected to generate about 135,000 MWh of electricity per year and prevent approximately 74,444 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually compared to the baseline scenario. Even though wind is increasing in Turkey, there is a heavy reliance on fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and the share of natural gas has grown to reach the same proportion as the other sources. We want to finance this kind of projects to show that there is support for sustainable energy, and spread awareness of the feasibility of better alternatives.
This project consists of an installation of 16 wind turbines, each having a capacity of 3000 kW, in Belen, on the Southeast Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The wind farm provides a total capacity of 48MW and is connected to the national grid. The project employs state of the art technology and installed high capacity 3MW turbines instead of 1.5MW turbines that used to be installed in the earlier days of wind energy developments in Turkey. These new turbines enable better use of the wind potential with a reduced project footprint area, minimising the impact on the natural environment.
It is worth mentioning that if not prepared and designed properly, wind energy can have negative environmental impacts. This is why it is important to do a so-called Environmental Impact Assessment. As we purchase credits from projects certified by Gold Standard, there has been a rigorous control of the risks as all projects have to comply with the “Safeguarding Principles and Requirements” . This covers human rights, gender issues, corruption, water and land use, and other potential impacts. Another important part of the project preparation is the stakeholder consultation, which is also documented in Project Design Document.
For this project in particular, it is described in the Project Design Document that ”…some trees will be cut in order to enlarge the road to the site and to clear the surroundings of the turbines. However; it was assured that new plantation will be done in return by local Forestry Management”. Other issues addressed in the preparation phase was the concern for bird migration in the area, and potential impact from waste and water usage during the construction phase. Having this information available is mandatory, and is how we know we can trust the project. It allows for accountability, so that we can hold the project developer responsible for the impacts and mitigation measures.
More information about this project in the Gold Standard registry (including verification and monitoring reports) HERE