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Carbon emissions

A small repo to gather values of CO2 emissions. While no value is exact, orders of magnitude are a very powerful tools in the hand of citizens.

First estimates

The carbon emission for first world countries is of the order of (see 1) 10 tons per inhabitant per year, i.e. 30 kg/day/capita. This includes all the industrial activities of the country. But because such activities are consumed by citizens, this should give a fair idea of our consumption ! See this source (2) for more information and detailed sources.

Note that typically, “western”/1st world countries import more CO2 than they export, so the numbers tend to be under-estimated for those world countries and over-estimated for less rich manufacturing countries.

On average, agriculture represents 20% (considered directly 3) up to 30% (4) of greenhouse gaz emissions. This is highly country-dependent though, and this number seems only 10% in the US, where transportation accounts for 28% ! 5 All integrated, livestock seem to account for 18% of carbon emissions 6.

CO2 - power equivalence

Coal, fuel, natural gaz are of the order 1kg CO2 emission per kW.h (7).

In Europe, we are at ~0.3 kg / kW.h (8). Note that countries using coal (e.g. Germany, 2.25% of the worlds’ CO2 emissions) have larger emissions than countries using nuclear (e.g. France, 0.95% of the worlds CO2 emissions).

A light bulb consumes 15W, i.e. 360 W.h a day, i.e. 130 kW.h a year, i.e. 40 kg per year.

Clothing

Clothing represents about 10% of carbon emissions worldwide 9.

Flights

On average, for fuel only, a flight emits 100g per passenger km, so about 100kg per hour per passenger (10). This is an under-estimation because of the other costs, but order-of-magnitude wise consistent with more precise counts (11).
This yields about 1 ton CO2 for a trans-atlantic flight, i.e. over a month of CO2 for an average person.

transportation

A modern car produces about 12kg per 100km.

Food

Food represents roughly around a quarter of mankind’s emissions 12, i.e. on average 2.5 tons per year per inhabitant. A vegeterian diet reduces this footprint by 30%. So one can reduce their emission by 7.5% by following a vegetarian diet.

Beef has a very strong carbon footprint. A 200g steack emits about 12kg of carbon 13. Compare that to 1.4kg for pork and 1.2 for chicken… and 200g for the same mass of corn.

Food waste is responsible for 6% 3 to 8% 14 of greenhouse gaz emissions, consistent with about 30% of food being wasted 15.

Overall, food transport has a very limited impact on its carbon footprint. Focusing on eating less carbon-intensive sources is far more efficient than focusing on eating local 13.

Phones

A modern smartphone is around 90kg of CO2 16, i.e. about 3 days worth for an average european. The usage of the smarthphone is around 315kg/year 16, i.e. about 3% of our carbon footprint.

bitcoin

Bitcoin consumes at least 50 TWh annualy 17, we represents at least 10 milion tons of CO2, and probably closer to 20 to 40 1817.

Significant behavioural change

What do you think ?

Insignificant behavioural changes

Don’t make yourself just feel good, act useful !

References

  1. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yduvmpwSneAZPP8KM5JLkEiuKH9EyOuwxH4eWTb1Bh4/edit#gid=0 

  2. https://ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions 

  3. https://ourworldindata.org/emissions-by-sector  2

  4. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-environ-020411-130608 

  5. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions 

  6. http://www.fao.org/3/a0701e/a0701e00.htm 

  7. https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=74&t=11 

  8. https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/daviz/co2-emission-intensity-6#tab-googlechartid_googlechartid_googlechartid_googlechartid_chart_11111 

  9. https://www.worldbank.org 

  10. https://www.carbonindependent.org/22.html 

  11. https://co2.myclimate.org/en/flight_calculators/new 

  12. http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/food-carbon-footprint-diet 

  13. https://ourworldindata.org/food-choice-vs-eating-local  2

  14. http://www.fao.org/3/bb144e/bb144e.pdf 

  15. https://www.ifco.com/countries-with-the-least-and-most-food-waste/ 

  16. https://honestmobile.co.uk/2020/08/25/whats-the-carbon-footprint-of-my-smartphone/  2

  17. https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption  2

  18. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3335781