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Environment: treading lightly on the Earth
Environment: treading lightly on the Earth

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2.2.1 Carbon footprint components

Now you have found out about the main components of the mean carbon footprint per person per year for the UK, USA and Germany, as well as more detailed components for a resident of Greater Manchester in the UK, complete Activity 3 which asks you to consider and compare these mean footprints.

Activity 3 The carbon heavyweights

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes
Described image
Figure 5 (repeated) The carbon footprint of Greater Manchester residents, broken down by consumption category (CO2e per person per year) (Berners-Lee et al., 2011). Note: the percentages add up to over 100% due to rounding (see Study note: Rounding numbers, decimal places and significant figures).
  • a.Look at Figure 5, repeated above. What are the components of the carbon footprint of a Greater Manchester resident broken down into high-level categories (e.g. travel, food, home energy, goods and services)?
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Answer

From Figure 5, the mean carbon footprint of a Greater Manchester resident is made up of:

  • travel by car, air, bus and train (vehicle fuel + car manufacture/maintenance + flights + public transport = 27%)
  • food consumption (retail food and drink + eating, drinking and staying away from home = 20%)
  • gas, electricity, etc. use (household fuel + electricity = 19%)
  • consumption of goods (electrical goods + other non-food shopping + domestic construction = 15%)
  • private and public services (financial, water, waste, health and education services, public administration, etc. = 21%).

(The percentages add up to over 100% due to rounding.)

  • b.Look at Table 1 and this section. Is the personal footprint breakdown for the UK as a whole similar to that for other developed countries, such as Germany and the USA?
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Answer

The breakdown for the UK as a whole is similar to that for most other developed countries.