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Journal article

The carbon cost of Christmas

Christmas time is accompanied by seasonal increases in our level of consumption. From eating and drinking to giving and receiving, it is the time of year when we do things to excess. Unfortunately, it also means we are likely to have a greater impact on the environment. Find out how much you are likely to produce in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, and learn some ways you can reduce your environmental impact, while still having a wonderful time.

Gary Haq, Elena Dawkins / Published on 10 January 2007

Read the paper  Open access


Haq, G., Owen, A., Dawkins, E. and Barrett, J. (2007). The Carbon Cost of Christmas. SEI report.

Our total consumption and spending on food, travel, lighting and gifts over three days of Christmas festivities could result in as much as 650 kg of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) per person – equivalent to the weight of 1,000 Christmas puddings! This is 5.5% of our total annual carbon footprint.

However, we can still have a good Christmas and be kind to the planet. There are a number of actions we can all take which can reduce our CO2 emissions by over 60% to 250 kg. This is equivalent to a saving in weight of 615 Christmas puddings.

This article gives you ideas for reducing the environmental impact of your food, travel, lighting and gifts over the Christmas period. In this time of seasonal goodwill, we should all spare a thought for the planet.

Read the paper

Open access

SEI authors

Gary Haq, Senior Research Assoicate at SEI
Gary Haq

Senior Research Associate

SEI York

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