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

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5.3.3 Further reducing your carbon footprint

You have now assessed your existing individual carbon footprint and considered how changing your actions, such as changing eating habits, driving fewer miles or flying less, can reduce your footprint. You are almost at the end of this course and the final activity asks you to return to the carbon calculator to see what can be done to further reduce your footprint with some actions beyond the household.

Activity 13 Decarbonising your footprint

Timing: Allow about 45 minutes

This activity assumes that you have completed Activity 11 and have tried to reach a Government and/or Personal footprint reduction target.

If you haven’t managed to reach your target through individual or household (‘I’ or ‘we’) actions, there are some non-household (‘they’) actions by government or others on the carbon calculator’s ‘Decarbonisation’ screen that can contribute towards reducing your personal footprint by decarbonising the national or global economy. This is done via carbon dioxide emission reduction measures paid for through your taxes or voluntary carbon offset payments, but undertaken by government or others.

Even if you’ve reached your target, you can set a more challenging target to explore the effect of these actions, such as supporting taxes to fund investments in decarbonising the economy or paying for voluntary carbon offsets.

First open the Carbon calculator (click on ‘View interative version’ in this link).

If you’ve reached your target in Activity 11:

  • On the Target screen, starting from your reduced footprint file, set a more challenging target (as in Activity 11 above).
  • Select the Decarbonisation tab. Try out the tax and offset options, which will produce emission reductions that subtract from your reduced footprint lowering it further. When you enter one or more decarbonisation option to reach a target already set, the red target line splits to show the target compared to the ‘You’ result, while the ‘Average’ bar shows the target line and its value in its pre-Decarbonisation position.
  • You’ll find that, depending on your income, increased income tax or regular voluntary carbon offset payments, can produce quite large emission reductions.

If you haven’t reached your target in Activity 11:

  • Starting from the footprint file which hasn’t reached your target, use the Decarbonisation tab (as above) to reach it.

In either case:

  • When you have reached your target, save the new reduced footprint file using a different name (e.g. DecarbonisationFootprint1).
  • Additional guidance and FAQs can be found here [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

This final activity has helped you explore the impact on your carbon footprint of carbon dioxide emission reduction measures paid for through your taxes or voluntary carbon offset payments, but undertaken by government or others. Such measures can be difficult to implement in practice and are often politically sensitive.

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