Ireland: Booklet aims to calculate carbon footprint

By JASON MICHAEL | Irish Times

A carbon calculator booklet to be unveiled today will allow people to measure their impact on climate change.

The publication will have details on the causes and effects of climate change, advice on cutting one’s impact on climate change, and a questionnaire to help people calculate their carbon number.

It will be available from public libraries and local authorities or by calling the lo-call number 1890 242 643.

The booklet is aimed at those who do not have access to the internet. An online carbon calculator set up at www.change.ie that has been used by almost 90,000 people, according to the Department of the Environment.

People’s carbon number – their contribution to climate change – is measured by calculating how many tonnes of carbon they generate through home heating, transport and air travel.

In Ireland, the average carbon number per person is 12 for direct emissions from energy and fuel use; in the rest of the EU the that number is eight.

The Government is seeking to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent through personal actions as well as initiatives by the public and private sectors and through the National Climate Change Strategy.

Announcing the booklet, Minister for the Environment John Gormley said: “Everyone is very conscious of financial cost these days and tries to live to a certain financial budget, but we want to help people to realise the environmental cost of their activities too.

He continued: “We can each choose lower carbon activities, such as walking, cycling or using public transport sometimes instead of driving, avoid wasting water, switch off lights and appliances when not in use, and change to low energy light bulbs in our homes and workplaces.”

The carbon calculator was developed using AMEE, the world’s energy meter, which was adapted to include relevant data for Ireland, including from Bord Gáis and the ESB.

This first phase of the calculator factors in energy and heating in a home and travel patterns. Development of the calculator will be advised by experts from the Department of the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, Met Éireann, Sustainable Energy Ireland, the Department of Transport and the Department of Energy and Natural Resources.

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