By answering questions, about travel, eating habits, housing and purchasing behaviors, individuals get a rough estimate of greenhouse gas emissions and the number of planet equivalents that are required if everyone makes those same lifestyle choices.The calculator also invites the users to set up groups and invite friends and peers to compare their results as a way to stimulate reflection and discussions.
Furthermore, the calculator registers user data by post code number. This allows actors such as local governments to use the tool in their climate communication campaigns. The tool has also been used in schools as a means to stimulate discussions between students about sustainable lifestyles. Businesses can also invite their employees to test, reflect and discuss.
The climate calculator connects to universal goals such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, which calls to limit the temperature rise to well below 2 degrees to avoid the most serious consequences of climate change. To achieve this goal, the world now needs close to zero emissions by 2050. Sweden has set the goal of reaching zero emissions within the country’s borders by 2045. Lifestyle decisions and the environmental impacts associated with them will be an important component in this strategy. The climate calculator aims to offer inspiration and a deeper understanding of the impact we place on the environment and the lifestyle changes needed.
Our consumption habits are putting our resources levels at great risk. If current consumption trends continue, then this dramatic increase in the amount of material we consume will continue to rise as populations grow, the middle class expands, and incomes increase.
Today, cities are associated with 60 to 80 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, consume 75 per cent of the natural resources, and account for 50 per cent of all waste (UNEP, 2012). By 2050, the number of people living in urban areas is expected to reach 6.3 billion – roughly two-thirds of the global population.
This will have a profound effect on what and how individuals and societies consume, especially when it comes to food, mobility, housing, consumer goodsand leisure.
If current trends continue, by 2030, humanity will need the equivalent of two Earths to support itself. The Swedish equivalent is 4,2 planets, according to WWF’s latest Living Planet Report.
There are encouraging signs that society is beginning to understand the impact of our daily choices. Terms like “quality of life” and “sustainable lifestyles” regularly appear in the media, illustrating that peopleare already weaving sustainability into their daily decision-making. Carbon footprinting, food waste reduction campaigns, urban gardening, vehicle sharing models, and surveys to understand the values and motivations are all ways that are helping people to live more sustainable lifestyles.
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
For Swedish speakers living in Sweden, the calculator at www.klimatkalkylatorn.se, takes approximately ten minutes and mobile adapted.