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

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4.4 Moving towards a sustainable carbon footprint

In Section 4.1 it was noted that a globally sustainable carbon footprint was about 2 to 2.5 tonnes CO2e per person per year, to be achieved by 2050. That would require the mean footprints per person in rich countries like Britain and Germany to be reduced by over 80%, while allowing the footprints of poorer developing countries to increase to give their growing populations a reasonable standard of living. On the way to an 80% reduction, the UK Government set a target of a 35% reduction in the country’s territorial carbon footprint by 2020 and 50% by 2025. In Activity 8, you calculated that that would be a mean annual footprint of, respectively, about 9 and 7 tonnes CO2e per person (or 10 and 8 tonnes CO2e per person, including imports and exports).

Such personal carbon footprint reductions should be achievable by individual and household actions. Next you will look at how one environmentally pioneering household has tried to do it.