Digital Calculator

Calculator

THE BITE-SIZE CLIMATE ACTION EMISSIONS CALCULATOR

Introduction

 

This calculator is designed to supplement and further personalise the Bite-size Climate Action (BSCA) website content. Individuals can obtain a rough estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions created by their personal actions linked to four of the BSCA modules: Electricity, Transport, Food, Trash.

Such calculations can be useful because people often do not understand how their lifestyles contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and thus where they can act most meaningfully. At the same time, some of the technical details of carbon footprint calculations can be complex and difficult to understand, so we have tried to strike a balance by focussing on a smaller number of the typically most important emission areas and by intentionally adopting simpler calculation methods.

 

It is important to recognise that emission calculators have been criticised for emphasising our responsibility as individuals for reducing emissions, potentially drawing attention away from the responsibilities of powerful governments and businesses. Indeed, it is intriguing that fossil fuel companies have been prominent in promoting the concept of a personal carbon footprint. So the calculations are not designed to induce feelings of blame or guilt, but to help us think through the relationship between our day-to-day lifestyles and climate action.

To calculate a rough estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions created by your personal actions enter information where prompted in the interface below. You can click on the "info" buttons for tips on entering information. Details of the calculation method are provided beneath the calculator, though do note it is not necessary to change the Emission factor boxes with are pre-loaded with default values suitable for Malaysia.

The calculator

Notes on calculation method
 

The way the calculator is structured is supposed to highlight that both individual actions and wider systemic properties combine to create emissions. In three of the four areas – Electricity, Transport and Trash – emissions are calculated by multiplying “activity data” supplied by the individual by an “emission factor”. The emission factor is a property of the wider social-economic system in which we live.

 

For Food, individuals are simply asked to select a diet type from among six options.


The Change module is crucial for all areas. You can help to encourage others to reduce their emitting actions (e.g. reduce their use of electrical air conditioners) AND help to create wider systemic changes that reduce the emission factor for an activity for many people (e.g. policies which increase the proportion of renewable sources in consumed electricity), or make it easier for many people to choose lower-activity options (e.g. stricter efficiency standards for electrical appliances). 


There is no calculation for a further module, Forests, because for most of us our opportunities to avoid emissions in this area come indirectly, for example through our choices related to other areas like Food (e.g. reducing consumption of products like beef which are associated with deforestation) and like Trash (e.g. reducing consumption of paper). Also remember that forests are important because they can absorb emissions of carbon dioxide created by activity in any area.


Importantly, these estimates are derived using an (intentionally) very simple calculation method, and so the estimates should be taken as an illustrative guide to understanding our opportunities to reduce emissions, rather than a precise measure of actual emissions.

Click here for full details of the calculation methods for each area. 

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