According to WWF’s latest Living Planet Report, if every person on the planet consumed like a Swede, we would need 4.2 planets. So, in terms of climate emissions and resource consumption, the average Swede’s lifestyle is neither sustainable nor fair. This goes for most EU countries and the US.
“With the help of the tool we hope to contribute to the public’s understanding of the environmental impact associated with their lifestyle, and create a commitment and a willingness to change”, said Katarina Axelsson, SEI Research Fellow.
“By adapting it for mobile units and communicate it on social media, we hope to reach out to the broader public who can fill it in while they are more or less on the move.”
Using the climate calculator, it takes approximately ten minutes to find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint from your home, food, transport and shopping.
The purpose of the calculator is to help individuals better understand how their everyday choices affect both climate and planet and to get tips for environmentally smarter choices.
The lifestyle of an average Swede gives rise to 11 tonnes of greenhouse gases every year. Just over two tonnes are public emissions such as schools, health care and infrastructure. As an individual they are difficult to influence. By comparison, the global average of GHG emissions is six tonnes per person and year.
“Your everyday choices play an important role. Eating less meat, traveling less by car and plane – if possible – and to review the energy you use at home are examples of practical tips on the way to lower emissions”, said Stefan Henningsson, Senior Advisor Climate, Energy and Innovations, WWF.
“When analysing your individual result from the climate calculator it becomes quite clear that a large part of the average Swede’s climate impacts are built into our lifestyles. It is difficult to get down to really low levels. But we hope that the tool can contribute to important discussions about what changes we can jointly bring about to reach sustainable levels of consumption”, said Axelsson.
Sweden’s national emission statistics include only the emissions that are made within the country, not the emissions generated through consumption. Using the climate calculator will generate a better understanding of the full impact of your lifestyle, regardless of in what country the emissions occur.
25,000 Swedes and counting
The launch has so far received a great response. In just a coulpe of weeks more than 25,000 Swedes have used the climate calculator to check their climate emissions.
“I think many have understood that we need to change our lifestyles to prevent severe climate change. People want to contribute to this transition and to understand what difference they can make. It’s positive. An important condition to be able to change is to understand what impact different consumption behaviours actually have, such as air travel or shopping,” said Axelsson.
“I also think there’s a great interest because we have succeeded in developing a mobile-friendly calculator that is easily shared in social media”
The climate calculator builds on SEI’s long legacy of work in the area of sustainable consumption through which a number of different footprint calculators have been developed for different purposes and scales. For more information see our work on Producer to Consumer Sustainability and our tools.
This climate calculator supports the goals of the UN climate summit in Paris. To avoid the most severe consequences of climate change the climate summit in Paris in 2015 agreed to limit temperature increase to well below two degrees and preferably at 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. To achieve this, we need to reach near-zero emissions globally no later than 2050.