Where do all of the
When I first decided to map out the
Adding in international aviation and shipping (which until recently were excluded from the Government’s official emissions total) seemed relatively straightforward – but how to account for the extra climate impact of emissions released at high altitude? What about the fact that since 1990, the
Then there’s the sticky matter of food. The greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture – particularly methane from livestock and nitrous oxide from chemical fertilisers - are still subject to intense research, and there’s much we still don’t understand. Early findings and best guesses have had to suffice here for now.
Then, of course, there’s been the fun of trying to calculate the interactions between all of these different factors and build them into a user-friendly tool. After wrestling with these challenges by myself for a year, I was delighted to start working with the Guardian web team in 2009; they not only scrutinised, double-checked and improved on my model, but also took on the daunting task of translating all this stuff into a whizzy working online tool.
This has been a pretty enormous piece of work – it is, we’re fairly sure, the most complex online carbon calculator in existence. It allows you, the user, to tinker with the
So please, have a play with the tool, and send us your feedback – was it easy to use? Did anything seem strange or surprise you? Has it changed your mind about any particular policies or climate change solutions? If you’re really interested, please check out the calculations, assumptions and data sources behind the model (which are all freely available online), and please do send us your questions or suggestions for improvements.
A tool only has value if it is used – so please do use it, and if you like it, spread the word!