Supporting a Solar Energy Project in India

We have now offset another 25,000 ton CO2eq in a Gold Standard certified project! Thank you all GoClimate members for taking part in this!

The climate benefits of this 70 MW Bhadla Solar Power Plant

We decided it was time for another solar energy project, in Rajasthan, the northwestern part of India. The main purpose of this project is to produce clean electricity through photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. This is a large scale solar project. It has an installed capacity of 70 MW, generating 122,108 MWh per year.

Large scale solar PV plant in Rajasthan, India

To give you an idea of how much electricity that is – an average American home uses about 7,200 kWh per year. This project could support 16,960 American homes yearly. But as an average Indian household uses only about 1000 kWh, this equals the annual electricity consumption of 122,108 homes! Add to that that there are almost twice as many people per household in India compared to the US (2,6 compared to 4,9). This amount of electricity supplies a population of 44,096 Americans or 598,329 Indians!

Rows and rows of solar cells out in the desert

In supplying all of this clean energy, the people in this region don’t have to use fossil fuels such as coal or oil to generate electricity anymore. This is still very common in India. Coal is still the most used source of energy. About 9 percent of the energy comes from renewable sources. The share has grown exponentially, from 3,72 percent in 2014-2015. We are so excited to be a part of this positive trend! Thanks to these large investments, we help push down the prices of this clean technology, making it more affordable all over the world.

The benefits for the local community

Improved school attendance

This project has made significant contributions to strengthen the local community on their way to meet the sustainable development goals. In summer, when temperatures rise to 40 degrees Celsius in the area, up to fifty percent of students would not attend school. This is due to the unreliable electricity supply not guaranteeing adequate indoor temperatures. Now, the school attendance is almost 100 percent in summer. Moreover, the company running the project has supported the construction of improved toilets, a classroom, and a digital corner with computers and a projector. The local youth thus have better learning opportunities, and adults have also been supported with literacy sessions.

Supporting women’s developement

A Self-Help Group for women has been founded, where the women learn new skills, primarily related to tailoring and sewing. The women are also given literacy training, which they describe as a big change in their lives.

Self-Help Group for women, where they learn new skills

New clean water facilities

The company in charge of the project has also installed a water ATM in the village, and supplied the local police station with access to clean drinking water. Again, as the temperatures get very high in the summer, this makes a big difference to the locals.

These are only a few examples of the many small initiatives through which the project participant support the local community.

Locals using the newly inaugurated drinking water facilities

The importance of local participation

When a project of this scale comes into a small village, it is fundamental that they develop a good relationship with the local people. There has to be mutual trust and respect for the project to run smoothly, which entails that the project listens to the needs of the locals. That is how they can ensure that they provide what the locals actually want for themselves, and makes sure they feel ownership over their development. Therefore, we are so happy to support projects like this, because it recognizes and actively contributes to multiple aspects of sustainable growth.

Read more about the project in the Gold Standard Registry or in the CDM Registry

Want to contribute to this, and other similar projects? Calculate your carbon footprint and transition to a climate neutral life today!

Making the change to green electricity!

Is it finally time to swap to green electricity? This is how much of a difference it will make!

Swapping your standard electricity plan for a green one is perhaps the most impactful one-time action you can take to reduce your personal carbon footprint. This post explains why and how to do so with tips specifically for the UK, the US and Sweden, but the principles are the same pretty much everywhere.

Before we start – green energy is often disclosed as having zero emissions, but in this post and generally throughout our calculations, we assume 15 g CO2e per kWh to account for maintenance and grid operations – just to be on the safe side.

We all use electricity at home, let’s make it green!

UNITED KINGDOM

Average electricity consumption in the UK for a 1 or 2 bedroom house/flat is 2,000 kWh, for a 3 or 4 bedroom house 3,100 kWh and for a 5+ bedroom house it’s 4,600 kWh. This considers only general electricity use, and not gas consumption for heating and hot water. Using “regular” electricity in the UK which has an emission factor of 255,6 g CO2e per kWh, this result in CO2 footprints of:
511 kg CO2e for a 1 or 2 bedroom house/flat,
792 kg CO2e for a 3 or 4 bedroom house and
1176 kg CO2e for a 5+ bedroom house.

Comparing that to renewable energy, the CO2 footprints would instead be
30 kg CO2e for a 1 or 2 bedroom house/flat,
46,5 kg CO2e for a 3 or 4 bedroom house and
69 kg CO2e for a 5+ bedroom house. That’s amazing!

The market for green energy in the UK is similar to that of Sweden. The big companies often offer green plans, but there are also smaller suppliers which can give even better packages and other added benefits. Since homeowners in the UK often have electricity and gas from the same provider, it is worth considering the overall benefits of also changing to a supplier that offers green(er) gas.

T3.com is one of the the UK’s leading consumer lifestyle websites, and they have an up-to-date guide on the best green energy suppliers, as well as a guide on how to switch and a price comparison. Check out the suppliers HERE

In the EU, according to the Directive 2003/54/EC, electricity providers have to disclose source of the electricity (how it is produced), and the environmental impact, at least the CO2 emissions and nuclear waste. So you as a consumer can feel confident that you know the difference between the options!

USA

The average household in the US consumes 10.972 kWh annually, noting that there is great variability between states. Given that the average emission factor for electricity in the US is 456 g CO2 per kWh (again, with great variability between states), this standard home is responsible for emitting 4998 kg of CO2 per year! That’s almost five tonnes! Changing electricity provider to a green energy plan can make a huge difference here, and if you want to reduce your carbon footprint this action probably has the highest return on effort invested.

How? The first step is to check if your current provider offers a renewable/green energy plan that you could transfer to. Some power companies supply this as an alternative, it’s often referred to as “green pricing”.

If you want to change provider, you’ll have to find one that supplies green electricity in your area. The Center for Resource Solutions offers a database for Green-e certified renewable energy. Search for “Residential Renewable Energy”, you can also filter the results by state. Another alternative is CleanChoice Energy, also available in several states. If that doesn’t give you any good options, try a google search for your state/city and renewable energy providers.

Given the structure of the energy market in the US, not everyone can actually choose their energy provider (it depends on the state regulations). If you are still willing to go the extra mile for green electricity, you can purchase green certificates or “Renewable Energy Certificates” (REC). This means that you pay the price difference between the market price for regular electricity and the price for producing green/renewable energy, and you therefore contribute to financing sustainable energy even if you can’t have it served in your own home. The Green-e database allows you to search for “Residential Renewable Energy Certificate”, and if you can’t find anything there – Google is your friend.

Again, given the massive difference it can have on your carbon footprint, it is worth investing some time in! Especially given that once you’ve made the switch, you don’t have to do anything else!

Sidrap Wind Energy Park in Indonesia
We support a renewable energy project in Indonesia, but what about buying renewable energy at home too?

SWEDEN

In Sweden, an apartment uses on average 2000 kWh of electricity per year, and a house uses 6000 kWh for general electricity use. For heating and hot water, an apartment uses on average 10000 kWh and a house uses on average 15000 kWh.

For “regular” energy, the CO2 emissions per kWh is 338,52 g. This means that for general electricity use, an apartment causes emissions of 677 kg CO2 and a house 2031 kg CO2. If the home is also heated with electricity, the apartment causes emissions of 4062 kg and the house 7109 kg.

For green energy, the emission factor varies depending on the source, but a safe value to use is 15 g of CO2 per kWh. This means that for general electricity use, an apartment causes emissions of 30 kg CO2 and a house 90 kg CO2. If the home is also heated with electricity, the apartment causes emissions of 180 kg and the house 315 kg. This is a massive difference! The price difference is less than 10%. What are you waiting for?

How to move ahead: First check which provider you currently have. This is specified on your electricity bill (paper or digital), or you can check where the money goes on your bank statement. If you want to stay with the same provider, see if they have a green electricity option. Otherwise, you can do a Google search and see if you find a provider that is more appealing – either with price or with other factors, like sustainability. There are services like https://www.elskling.se/ where you can compare prices and filter for green electricity.

This is perhaps the easiest step to make a significant difference to your carbon footprint. Let us now in the comments if you’ve made the change and what tips you have for others!

Want to offset your entire carbon emissions? Calculate your carbon footprint and transition to a climate neutral life today!

Uberlândia landfills I and II Energy Project

We have now offset another 25,000 ton CO2eq in a Gold Standard certified project! Thank you for taking part in this!

For the first time, we are investing in a project located in Brazil. Parabéns to us! The project is a Landfill to Gas Energy Project located in Uberlândia, in the state of Minas Gerais. Here, greenhouse gas emissions from two adjacent landfills are collected and converted into energy.

Collecting GHG from the landfill to convert it to energy

How does this work? As in most places in the world, the garbage that is generated by the local population is collected by garbage collectors and taken to a solid waste deposal site, also known as a landfill. In this case, this is done by a local company called Limpebrás Resíduos Ltda. The first of the Uberlândia landfills received waste from 1995 to 2010, and the second one started in 2010 with an expected 18 years of lifetime. Uberlândia I has during its operation received approximately 2,100,000 tonnes of domestic waste! This is being treated with significant care for the environment to prevent environmental damage, especially to avoid leachate into the ground.

Carefully managed landfill

But the contamination is not the only concern for landfills. The decomposing of organic waste in the landfill is also causing significant emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, CH4. Methane is a less common but stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, so the climate impact is about 25 times higher! This is why we in some places (like in Sweden) can collect separated organic waste and turn it into energy. However, this infrastructure is not yet available in all parts of the world. So, this project instead aims to collect the methane that is generated at the existing landfills, then combust it in a contained environment in order to produce energy for the local energy grid. The project will last for as long as the landfills release methane, which is until a few years after the landfill is full.

Landfill to Gas Energy Plant

Some people call this renewable energy. We are not too happy with that definition, as garbage in itself is not a renewable resource. Project Drawdown calls this “a transitional strategy for a world that wastes too much” – which we agree with. “In a sustainable world, waste would be composted, recycled, or re-used; it would never be thrown away because it would be designed at the outset to have residual value, and systems would be in place to capture it”. GoClimate fully supports this statement, while recognizing that we are not there yet. As the waste is already at the landfill and causing these emissions as we speak, we’re on board to do what we can to stop them and turn it into energy, until the global waste management can catch up in terms of reduction and recycling. Given the climate urgency, this is not an either-or question, we need to do both!

The workers who collect the garbage

 Apart from the reduced emissions from collecting the methane, we are also helping to displace fossil fuels as we provide alternative energy to the network. The project is also creating more qualified job opportunities for the local population, and the monitoring of the project has not found any negative impact for the people who do ad-hoc recycling of the garbage. Finally, the project has also reduced the odor coming from the landfill. When the project was initiated, there were no landfill to gas projects in the country which did not receive additional financing from carbon credits, so we feel confident that this is a project with high additionality.

Read more about the project in the Gold Standard Registry or in the CDM Registry

See our retired credits HERE

Want to contribute to this, and other similar projects? Calculate your carbon footprint and transition to a climate neutral life today!

Vote for the climate!

Many people feel small when it comes to climate issues. “I’m only one person, and the government is just not doing enough!” It is indeed very frustrating that we as individuals can’t just fix the problem completely ourselves. But the idea of democracy is that we actually do have a say in who decides for us, and we can choose those whose priorities are most in line with our own.

Given that in most democratic countries, elections for government only happens every 4-5 years, this is a major opportunity for citizens to vote for the candidate that can do the most good for the climate. Now, of course there are many different issues that are important to us in a presidential election. But make sure to take into consideration what the different candidates’ stance on climate policy is!

Voting is your way to make your voice heard

On November 3rd, 2020, citizens of the USA are allowed to vote for president. Unfortunately, the voter turnout is very low in the US – only 61,4 % compared to 87,2 % in Sweden. There are many different reasons for this, some being restrictions imposed on members of society, but IF YOU CAN, please vote and be the difference!

Politicians need people to vote for them, so they will prioritize issues and stances that they think are relevant to the people that actually turn up to vote. Imagine if only people who work in coal mines would vote – then it would be impossible for a politician to close down any coal mine. Rather, they would have an incentive to make the coal mine as great as possible, to keep the voters happy (assuming that they don’t want any change). When we have both coal miners and environmentalists voting, politicians have a strong incentive to close down the coal mine, but also to support coal miners in transitioning to better jobs, perhaps in renewable energy.

If we could get more environmentalists to vote, we could get more politicians to focus on issues like climate change. This would not eliminate other issues from their agenda, but we want them to focus on what is most urgent and try to find synergies between issues. As an example – if we prioritize air quality and implement measures that will provide cleaner air, people’s health will improve (numbers vary, but studies find that air pollution currently causes over 100 000 premature deaths per year in the US). This will reduce the burden on the health care system, and healthier people are more productive members of society. Win-win!

If you think it is hard to find the right information, NGOs like 350.org and Greenpeace assess politicians (in this case the candidates for the US presidential election) on how well they score on climate issues. This provides good guidance and based on this, you can read more to form your own opinion. You don’t have to agree with everything the NGO stands for to make use of their guidance.

How to know if you can vote in the US: check the US Government’s webpage explaining the requirements. If you can vote, you need to register to do sothe deadline is approx. one month before the election, but it varies by state.

Remember that there is definitely a lot that you can do in between elections as well. You can contact responsible politicians regarding specific issues, sign petitions, or demonstrate. Democracy is not a one time incident, it should be sustained all the time! Your voice has the right to be heard.

Best (climate) reads for lazy summer days!

Working hard to stop climate change and making the world a better place is great everyday life. But even heroes need holidays, to recharge the batteries and enjoy the small things around us. Stopping to smell a flower, having a cup of coffee in no rush at all, maybe even turning off the phone. Taking a break from the digital world can be so refreshing! And when you do that, what better way to spend time than with a book? We at GoClimate have a diverse taste in books, but we decided to present some related to climate change.

GoClimate enjoying books!

(Two years ago we did another blog post about this, find it HERE)

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Gosh. The Indian novelist wrote his first non-fictional book in 20 years on the topic of climate change, highlighting the cultural shift that is needed to address this issue. Climate chance is not too unrealistic to be portrayed in popculture anymore.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural Story by Elizabeth Kolbert (US). This book has been very praised for how it narrates the story of the process we are currently living in, and how humans are the protagonists in this.

The Sixth Extinction

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action by Per Espen Stoknes. This is perhaps the most facts-y book on the list, where the Norwegian Psychologist identifies psychological barriers to climate action, and addresses them with concrete strategies. Now that we know what we know, how do we handle that? He also gave a TED talk on the topic!

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate and On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein (Canada). This Changes everything was published in 2016, presenting a strong argument for the links between climate change and the current free market economy. This book has had a monumental impact on the climate movement, and its sequel is explaining how bold climate action can be a blueprint for a just and thriving society.

We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast  by Jonathan Safron Foer. This American author has previously produced both fiction and the arguably best book on veganism: Eating Animals. The book is a peculiar and personal take on climate change and our diets, and worth it because the writing and randomly connected thoughts are so poignant.

We are the Weather

Oryx and Crake and The year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (Canada). Known for an extensive body of literature (for example, The Handmaid’s Tale), Atwood is building the Maddaddam Trilogy on a backdrop of climate change. Perhaps more relaxing than the fact-filled books!

Tentacle by Rita Indiana (Dominican Rep). Not all climate books are non-fiction! This is a novel built on Caribbean storytelling, covering climate change, Yoruba rituals, time travel, queer politics, poverty, sex, colonialism and contemporary art. Try something new!

Tentacle

What are you reading this summer? Drop us a comment below!

What is a climate project?

So you already know that when you sign up at GoClimate, you support climate projects through carbon offsetting. But how do these projects actually work?

The main purpose of a climate project is to avoid the emission of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. There are different ways to do this, and the carbon market is constantly evolving with new projects and better methods for measuring emissions reductions.

One way that is easy to measure and easy to understand is therefore projects that produce renewable energy. By creating the kind of energy that does not cause emissions, we give people the opportunity to stop using fossil fuels. For example, when we build wind power in India and connect more people to the electricity grid, they no longer need to use diesel generators or burn charcoal, which is often the case before the project is implemented.

Sidrap Wind Energy Park in Indonesia
Sidrap Wind Energy Project in Indonesia

Some examples of projects that GoClimate have supported which produce renewable energy:

The reason we want to contribute to this in countries like India and Indonesia is that wind power is still too expensive to be built without the income from carbon credits – this is what is meant by additionality. Wind power can produce the same energy in Sweden, but the marginal utility will be higher elsewhere as we avoid combustion of coal and diesel and contribute to raising the standard of living on site.

Another type of climate project is the capture of greenhouse gas emissions that occur in different processes, and converting them into energy instead – so-called biogas projects. The projects often involve installing improved technology so that greenhouse gases from biodegradation of organic matter, for example in landfills or in waste water, are not released into the atmosphere but are contained and converted into energy. Here we immediately avoid the emissions, and do something useful with the energy instead! This is often a bit more expensive than, for example, building wind power, which rank among the cheapest projects.

Landfill Gas to Energy project in Chile
Landfill Gas to Energy Project in Chile

Some examples of biogas projects which GoClimate have supported:

Another type of project aims to improve methods of cooking. A large proportion of the world’s population cook their food over open fire, which leads to deforestation when more and more people need firewood. By offering better equipment, the people responsible for cooking, usually women, do not need to collect as much wood. This saves both trees and time for them, and with the improved equipment it also reduces air pollution and air born particles, which has a positive impact on their health. These projects thus have great potential benefits, but are more difficult to implement because it implies changing behaviors, and then it is more difficult to measure the results. The risk is thus higher, but the benefits can be very significant.

Improved cookstoves being used in Rwanda

GoClimate has financed a few projects of this kind:

Another type of climate project has to do with trees. This can be reforestation of areas that have been deforested, the planting of trees on areas that have not had a forest before, or protection of existing forests. Projects of this kind are incredibly important because the trees bind carbon dioxide from the air, and there are many potential benefits such as increased biodiversity, improved microclimate, etc. Nevertheless, we at GoClimate have chosen not to invest in this kind of climate project. The main reason is that the carbon that is bound in the tree is admittedly absorbed, but it is not a permanent storage of carbon dioxide as it, intentionally or unintentionally, can be released into the atmosphere again. The lack of permanence and the risks associated with it means that we do not want to offset in this kind of projects.

This is a brief summary of some different types of climate projects, but there are more on the market, and more are being developed at the time of writing. Of course, since the projects are so different, the prices of the projects vary, and there is thus no fixed price for a ton of carbon dioxide. In addition, all projects have administrative costs – if no one designs, administers and supervises the project, there will be no projects and we also could not guarantee the quality of them. But that’s why we exist – to do part of the job for you who want to save the climate by offsetting emissions. Part of the cost also goes to the certification, to ensure the quality of the project. In this way we avoid projects that don’t make positive impacts, and protect ourselves from corruption and inefficiency.

Does this sound like something you want to be a part of an contribute to? Sign up here for a carbon neutral life!

Further questions? Please leave a comment!

Dora II Geothermal Energy Plant

We have now offset another 25,000 ton CO2eq in a Gold Standard certified project! Thank you for taking part in this!

This time, we are financing a new technology that we haven’t been involved with before – geothermal energy production! We are really excited to see that there are projects of this type available on the voluntary carbon credit market now, and we’ll tell you all about why this is so important.

Dora II

This project is called Dora II, and it is a geothermal energy production plant in the Aydin province in Turkey. The plant has an installed capacity of 9.5 MWe with an annual electricity production of 70,000 MWh. Geothermal plants use the heat that is stored in the ground to produce electricity. The very short tech summary is that this project utilizes something called a Binary cycle system, where fluid obtained from a well that is dug into the ground transmits its temperature to another fluid (pentane, that has a lower evaporation degree), which powers a turbine that produces electricity.

Geothermal energy is a great way to complement other renewable energies, like wind and solar, because it offers a constant supply that is not dependent on the weather. It is therefore considered a baseload, or readily dispatchable power. It can take place at all hours and under almost any weather conditions, it is reliable, efficient, and the heat source itself is free.

Geothermal energy production in Turkey

However, only 6 to 7 percent of the world’s potential geothermal power has been tapped, according to Project Drawdown. There is still a lot to discover, but it is believed that some 7 to 13 percent of the current global energy consumption could be satisfied with geothermal energy. This makes it one of the top 20 solutions to climate change as listed by Project Drawdown. However, this will only be possible if we together assume the costs of early investment and developments. That is why we at GoClimate are so excited to be supporting this project!

Turkey is a country with a huge and growing energy demand, which to a large extent is satisfied with fossil fuels that are imported from other countries. 86,5 percent of the energy supply in Turkey came from fossil fuels in 2018, and the majority of it (almost all the oil and natural gas) is imported. By growing the share of domestically produced renewable energy, Turkey can move towards satisfying its energy demands in a more sustainable way and help lead the development of green technology. This will help push down the prices of renewable energy technology, as we have seen with wind and solar before, and make geothermal energy more accessible to low income countries with high potential for geothermal (the possibility to access geothermal energy depends a lot on the composition of the earth’s crust).

Geothermal energy is location sensitive

More information about this project in the Gold Standard registry (including verification and monitoring reports) HERE

What is the carbon footprint of the internet and streaming?

If you have spent more time online than usual lately – you are not alone! Especially streaming has had almost exponential growth, as our consumption patterns of movies and series has been revolutionized by online services. Have you ever wondered if all the hours on Netflix actually have a carbon footprint? We dig into the details!

Powering the internet uses a massive amount of energy, from the remote data centers all the way to the power of the device that you are reading this on. The scope of it makes it incredibly challenging to calculate, and even when we do, the numbers are almost too large to grasp – the carbon footprint of YouTube has been estimated to 10 000 000 tonnes CO2e. What can be said is that the internet is currently responsible for 2 percent of global carbon emissions, and this is because 80% of the energy used to run it comes from fossil fuels. This is basically the same amount as the emissions from the aviation sector! But let’s not forget, this also has to be put into perspective of the emissions that are avoided elsewhere – all the physical letters not sent thanks to emails and online bank services, just to give an example (although we all could probably reduce the number of emails we send and receive!).

All your screens are in dialogue with remote data centers. Photo by Domenico Loia

What is really booming on the internet right now is major streaming services. Almost 58% of downstream traffic on the internet is video, and Netflix alone held almost 20% of the traffic in the US in 2018 – a number that is probably not decreasing. So what is the carbon footprint of this?

Let’s start by saying that the carbon footprint of streaming is lower than driving to the cinema to watch a film there. This is not an argument to make people stop streaming, but to understand how our small actions add up to a big impact and that we should take responsibility – both for our own behavior, but also to encourage providers to do everything in their power to optimize operations.

A French think tank called the Shift Project first made some pretty horrifying calculations on this, estimating that watching 30 min of Netflix is equivalent to 1,6 kg of CO2 emissions. However, it seems like they based it on some wrong assumptions, as George Kamiya, Digital/Energy Analyst at the International Energy Association points out. According to his calculations and official IEA data, streaming a Netflix video in 2019 typically consumed 0.12-0.24kWh of electricity per hour, which is between 25 and 53 times less than the Shift Project estimation. So if we use the emission factor for the global average energy mix, that would give a carbon footprint of 0,028 – 0,057 kg (28 – 57 grams) CO2e for a 30 min Netflix session. Less than the carbon footprint of a banana!

So, it’s not actually that bad to watch Netflix (or, sending one email). However, we should consider how much traffic we generate, because it really does add up. Don’t leave things on in the background. If you listen to music, do so from a program that only gives you the music, and not the video stream (yeah, playing YouTube on another tab than the one you are watching is wasteful!). Pause videos that start just because you are scrolling on a page. Unsubscribe from all the newsletters that you don’t read anyway.

Do you need to use several devices at the same time?

But more importantly, we need to make better IT design. How can we optimize data transfers? Do we need to send as much as we do? It will be both faster, cheaper and better for the environment if we can implement sustainable interaction design! Researchers from Bristol University suggested that digital waste could be reduced if YouTube stopped playing the video when the window isn’t open – and that this could save up to 500 000 tonnes of CO2e per year! And streamlining solutions like this one could potentially be found anywhere, helping us all to keep emissions from digitalization under control.

Do you work in IT? Could you design better systems to slim down the quantities of data that are being sent across the internet? Exciting challenges ahead of you!

If you want to read even more, start HERE (medium article)

The unjust and, yes, racist side of climate change

Climate change affects everyone, but it does not impact everyone in the same way or at the same time. That is why the fight against climate change should not be separated from the fight for justice and equality.

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) are disproportionately affected by climate change, which is a consequence of global power structures with deep roots. White people are so used to this system which gives them almost limitless privilege, that it’s embarrassingly easy to assume that “it’s just how it is”. Opening our eyes to this profound injustice is not only well overdue, but an obligation if we want to have any chance of creating a sustainable society.

We all have our different entry points into the field of environment and climate change. For white people, some are genuinely convinced that this is a tragedy of large scale which needs to be addressed. But for many BIPOC, this is not some potential future threat – it is already lethal. And yet, it is so much harder for the affected communities to do work on these issues because firstly – they simultaneously have to  work on fundamental justice issues. Secondly– their work and their testimonies are not given the same validity as those of white people, as a result of a global system built on white supremacy. This is not even considering factors like unequal access to education, discrimination when applying for jobs, etc. etc. All of these factors have to be acknowledged and changed.

It seems like black lives don’t matter, when you look at global climate policies. When we act like 2, 3, 4, 5 degrees global warming is ok, we are condemning people primarily in Africa, Asia and Small Island Nations to immense suffering and death. The message the policies send, is that indigenous lives don’t matter, when we prioritize to build oil pipelines across the last crumble of land they have. Likewise, it seems like immigrants’ lives don’t matter, when we build highways cutting through their communities (but make a tunnel under the affluent areas).

Black lives matter as much as anyone else’s, and we have to start acting like it. Not only when it comes to the justice system and police brutality, but on all levels of society. The climate movement has to become intersectional and we have to do a lot more to enable that change. We have already lost too many lives, wasted too much time, to white supremacy.

One concrete thing we need to become better at, is to let BIPOC voices be heard so they can represent themselves. We need to hear them out, in all spaces. So, if you want to know more about the intersection between climate change, racism and justice, we recommend the following articles:

Black environmentalists talk about climate and anti-racism by Somini Sengupta (NY Times)

I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet. By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (Washington Post)

Black Lives Matter in a Changing Climate by Andre Floyd (Greenamerica.org)

Yes, Climate Change Does Kill People of Color More by Asad Rehman (Newsweek)

Also Naomi Klein (notably white, but presumably a good ally) presented a good analysis in 2014: Why #BlackLivesMatter Should Transform the Climate Debate (The Nation)

Now is the time to start doing better.

Methodology behind the carbon footprint calculator

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.

Go to our main page to try the calculator for yourself – and compare your result to your national average!