Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Do you know your and your community's carbon footprint?

Yesterday I read in The Washington Post "Carbon Output Must Near Zero to Avert Danger, New Studies Say": “The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades.” [emphasis mine]

I decided I’d better check my carbon footprint. According to the calculator at Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” website, mine is 2.55 tons per year, with the average in this country of 7.55 tons. Using the Carbon Footprint calculator, it’s 4.7 tons and looks a lot smaller than the average footprint for a person living in California but a lot larger than the goal for each of us throughout the world.

Then I became interested in what my small town, Healdsburg, is doing about its carbon footprint. There’s a push for a new large upscale development north of town, Saggio Hills, and its carbon footprint has not been calculated yet. Will Healdsburg consider this when it approves or disapproves the project?

What about my county, Sonoma. ? I’ll learn more this evening because Ann Hancock, executive director of the Climate Protection Campaign, will be here in Healdsburg to talk about it. Hancock has been the driving force behind all nine Sonoma County cities adopting the country’s boldest target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: 25% below 1990 levels by 2015.

But is this enough? When I look at the chart below, it doesn’t look like it to me (double-click to enlarge).

One other thing that bothers me about local efforts to reduce our carbon footprint is that Paul Kelley, who is a county supervisor, went to Bali to represent Sonoma County at the U.N. conference on climate change held in December.

How could Kelley, who said the following within the last three years, possibly represent our county at an international climate change conference?

1. “I am still not convinced that global warming is not a hysterical thing, a fad that will pass.”
2. “It's sort of arrogant that people think that man can have such a catastrophic impact on the Earth. I'm not so sure.''

I’ll go to the meeting this evening with an open mind. However, I suspect that I as an individual and my community, i.e., my town and my county, need to do more to reduce its carbon footprint.

(carbon footprint logo: Blogs Today (UK); chart of Sonoma County emission reductions: Climate Protection Campaign)


eredux said...

Check out this US Carbon Footprint Map, an interactive United States Carbon Footprint Map, illustrating Greenest States to Cities. This site has all sorts of stats on individual State & City energy consumptions, demographics and much more down to your local US City level...


Anonymous said...
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Gail Jonas said...

Eredux, Thanks for the link to the US Carbon Footprint Map. It looks very useful, so I've saved it in my favorites.