A friend made a plea that we all try to reduce our carbon footprint. My first thought is I have already put my "money where my mouth is" in that regard. However, it got me thinking – What is my carbon footprint ?
A person’s carbon footprint is simply the carbon produced minus carbon consumed. I found two calculators that did a passable job (carbon calculator #1 and carbon footprint #2). My results were between 16 and 17 tons of CO2 per year. Some sites will describe that as high and the primary factor is that my number represent a household of one. It also includes my workshop which is no small contributor during the heating season. For the curious, here is the breakdown:
- Air Travel = 1T
- Car = 2.3T
- Truck = 6.3T
- Self + House & Shop = 6.5 T
- Total = 16.1 T
That is the "producer" side of the equation. Now for the offset.
A healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually — or 2.6 tons per acre each year. (source). I have approximately 40 acres of trees so that is just over 100 tons of carbon sequestration. I was not able to find data for lawns so I will assume it is net neutral against the lawn mower.
The envelop please …. I am actually carbon negative to the tune of 84 tons per year. Awesome !
Of course, this is not a highly reproducible pattern. There are approximately 2.3 billion acres of land in the Unites States (source). If everyone had 40 acres of trees, that would make the total population less than 60 million and that does not even allow for manufacturing, agriculture, or infrastructure. For the record, the current population is estimated at more than 307 million (source).
Anyone want to buy some carbon credits ?