In the UK, average energy use results in the generation of the equivalent of 12.5 tonnes of CO2 per person per year (Chris Goodall). Even government policy acknowledges that greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by 80% by 2050.
Domestic energy and transport
Around 6 tonnes is the result of domestic energy and personal transport (including international air travel) and is therefore relatively easy for individuals to monitor and reduce.
We reduced our total for domestic energy
and personal transport to 2.5 tonnes (1.25 tonnes per person) without making major lifestyle sacrifices! (We suffered a serious lapse - after 8 years of not flying -when our family went to live in Japan for a while and we went to visit them).
The other half covers food, leisure, goods purchased, workplace and infrastructure. This is hard to measure and we haven't done much yet to tackle our share.
The Bigger Picture
The title of this section is taken from an excellent New Economic Foundation event, 'Tackling inequality and climate change – can we do both?' What the speakers (Kate Pickett, Caroline Lucas and Eva Neitzert) achieved was to present positive options for fundamental social, economic and environmental change that can be wrapped up into a coherent political philosphy offering not sackcloth and ashes but the prospect of increased welfare and happiness.
Although not elsewhere spelt out, our carbon reduction quest is a response to the issue of climate change. Few people we meet now find this completely strange but some do find the topic one of unremitting gloom and hopelessness. To them, we recommend the more fluent and persuasive scenario of this bigger picture.