As part of the Community Climate Action project, we have been working with The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE). CSE has created a carbon footprint for all partner locations for the project; Lawrence Weston, BS13, Lockleaze and Easton + Lawrence Hill. The hope is that this information will help inform the project. Carbon footprints are a tool to help us see which everyday activity creates carbon emissions, and to what level. By having this footprint showing average household emissions as a guide we can see which changes can have the most impact.
ON AVERAGE EACH PERSON IN EASTON AND LAWRENCE HILL WE CREATE 5,270KG OF CARBON EMISSIONS EVERY YEAR.
This figure is lower than the Bristol average (6,030kg) but to help put this in perspective, the Committee on Climate Change says that for the UK to meet its goal of being net zero by 2050, we need to aim for less than 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes) of greenhouse gas emissions per person annually.
In Bristol we’ve got a net zero by 2030 goal, so the challenge is even bigger, but if we can achieve this ambitious figure the effects of climate change could be less severe.
BUT WE’RE NOT FOCUSED ON INDIVIDUAL ACTION
By coming together to make changes we can lessen the burden on the individual. We can figure out together what changes are realistic for our community, and where we are going to struggle to make change alone we’ll need to build our confidence to be able to demand change from those in power.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Carbon dioxide, and other ‘greenhouse gases’, trap heat in the atmosphere and keep the earth warm (which is why they’re called greenhouse gases). These gases, which occur naturally, make the earth a habitable place – without them it would be too cold to live here.
Whilst greenhouse gases occur naturally, human activity (especially the use of ‘fossil fuels’ – oil, gas, coal) has led to hugely increased levels of these gases. This has led to the earth getting hotter, and our climate changing all over the world. Our climate affects everything on earth – the landscapes, seas, animals, plants, and of course people – and small changes in climate can impact where humans and animals can live, what and how much we can grow, our health, our sea levels, and much more.
Net zero & Carbon Neutral? We can understand ‘zero emissions’, but what does ‘net zero emissions’ mean? This means that any carbon dioxide that is emitted by the activities taking place is balanced by the same amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed from the atmosphere (sometimes achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions is referred to as ‘carbon neutrality’).
So we know that we need to drastically cut our carbon emissions, but how do we know what changes we need to make? Carbon footprints are a tool to help us – they show us which actions result in emissions, and to what level.