Your carbon budget is defined here as the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the earth's atmosphere by your activities that are under your direct control.
There are sites on the net that calculate carbon budgets (use Google to find them). However, none of them have a power mix anything like Canada, nor do they use Canada's metric units. Here's how to calculate a carbon budget for an eastern Canadian household. Divide by the number of people in your household to get a per-capita budget.
The Canadian average for electricity is 257 g/kWh. Hydro Quebec produces almost all its power from hydro, their average is only 40 g/kWH. (The average USA figure is 641 g/kWH.)
I use fluorescent lighting everywhere, and have new relatively efficient frig and furnace. But, my old air conditioner guzzles electricity, and as for my pottery kiln...
Next, find out how far you drive your vehicle each year from its odometer; I did 4884 km last year. Divide to obtain kg CO2: 4884/4.26=1146 kg per year.
I wouldn't mind doing better, but there is almost no shopping within walking distance, no bike paths to use even if my bent back would let me use them, and public transit here is so circuitous except to downtown that my car is more carbon friendly than the bus for most of my trips. Plus, my children are scattered from Toronto to St.Faustin (no bus or train) to Pennsylvania (bus only via New York City).
|age at sale yr||25||20||18||16||14||12||10||8||6|
|annual cost kg||430||490||520||565||620||690||790||940||1190|
My car is 22 years old (but still meets current pollution standards), so that adds 490 kg to my total.
I take about 20 round trips per year, mostly to City Hall (downtown) and the Riverside Hospital (on the Transitway): 20*2*8.8/7.78=45 kg-CO2. There's no public transit to my car repair garage or to any of my forestry projects. A bus trip to the local veggie store covers four times the distance my car requires, so generates more CO2 than travelling alone in my car. Diesel public transit is rarely a carbon friendly alternative to modern compact cars. And, as long as the Ontario Municipal Board overrules cities who try to plan transit-friendly cities, the city of Ottawa can't afford to provide public transit to sprawling suburbia.
Long distance Via Rail (diesel power) is a bit more efficient than buses, 11 km/kg (Environment Canada). Electric rail is far more efficient. The Montreal subway gets 10.9 km/kWh. Even using the average for Canadian electricity, that's 42 km/kg; using Quebec Hydro electricity as they do, 270!
|Canadian food carbon cost|
|beef||20 kg/kg||34 kg per capita||680 kg per capita|
|greenhouse veggies||2.7 (tomatos)||78||211|
|field veggies||0.2 (carrots)||100||20|
To use this table, substitute the weights bought by your household (including restaurant meals), add up the figures and divide by the number of people in your household to get your food carbon cost. If you don't have data, use the average figure. I'm a vegan plus fish so my usage is a lot smaller, about 700 kg-CO2.
Here are some estimates of the carbon costs associated with household consumables that usually end up in recycle bins or landfill, in kg-CO2 per kg of material:
|material||recycled cost||landfilled cost||kg/person-year||% recycled||avg.kg-CO2|
To use this table, substitute the weights and recycling percentages of your household, add up the figures and divide by the number of people in your household to get your waste carbon cost. If you don't have data, use the average figure.
I recycle about 80 kg paper/cardboard (mostly packaging and municipal reports I get as president of my community association), 7 kg glass, 2 kg cans and 1 kg plastic, and landfill 50 kg miscellaneous and non-recyclable plastics. My total is 160 kg-CO2 (Here's how I do it)
The Canadian average for 2004 was 20 tonnes CO2 per capita (US DOE). Personal uses as defined above above account for a bit less than half of this (USDE), 9 tonnes; the other 11 goes to produce energy (the oil sands projects in particular), to build our cities, roads and consumer products, to grow our food, and to transport them all the width of our large country.
So, despite all my efforts, I'm still responsible for 80% of average Canadian household CO2 emissions.
A great deal of this is due to the lack of single-person housing in so many urban areas of Canada. I should be able to find a house half the floor area of my current one where I want to live. I can't. More is due to the poor insulation of most Canadian homes. When I built my own home in rural Cumberland, it required so little energy to heat compared to standard construction of the time that Ontario regulations required me to install three times the capacity I really needed. But, few homes in Canada are built by the people who will live in them, they are built by developers who build solely for sale price, and who therefore ignore long term heating costs. An individual can't change either of those factors. Government regulation is needed, and so far that is inadequate, especially at the municipal level where small homes are prohibited by zoning bylaws.
Much of the rest is also due to government inaction. Municipalities in Ontario can't design efficient housing areas centered on public transit because the provincial municipal board overrides them if they result in lesser profits for developers. Inefficient community design requires the use of flexible low-use diesel public transit with its huge CO2 emissions instead of electric rail, the CO2-friendly mass transit, and it requires people to have individual cars. Our choices as individuals are very limited.
What is your Landfill Budget?
other notes on community matters
|Montreal subway||270 passenger-km/kg|
|solo compact car||4.3|
|compact fluorescent||233 lumen-hr/g|
|incandescent dimmed to 50%||37|
|incandescent dimmed to 10%||11|
|Quebec electricity||89 MJ/kg|