Some Explanations of terms we use...

:: Carbon Offsets

Carbon Offsetting is the term given to the act of doing something 'green' to compensate for some or all of your Carbon emissions. This can be done by planting trees yourself to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, by planting trees as a Biofuel for harvesting in ten years time,  or by generating your own renewable energy to go back to save on the use of Fossil Fuels for electricity generation.

Most of the time that is impractical to do these things for yourselves and it makes sense to leave those onerous duties to Offsetting Companies like Carbon Earth™

The idea of paying for carbon offsets elsewhere for your carbon footprint excesses is well known from the closely related concept of emissions trading. However, in contrast to emissions trading, which is regulated by a strict formal and legal framework, carbon offsets generally refer to the voluntary acts of individuals or companies and are commonly arranged by commercial  providers.

We have reforestation projects running now that should see some 20000 trees planted this planting season with further similar projects in the planning. Woodland Projects

We are also involved as agents in Renewable Energy Projects in third world countries.

It is quite simple, one offset unit represents one tonne of Carbon Dioxide (COČ) for the current year. That offset is allocated to you for ever but further offsets will be needed for subsequent years. So on it goes, however large or small your offset is, every bit helps the planet.

By planting trees and growing biofuels we are able to provide carbon offsets for Individuals, Households and Companies to buy. That action allows us to plant more and more!

A wide variety of offset methods are in use — while tree planting has initially been a mainstay of carbon offsetting, renewable energy and energy conservation offsets have now become increasingly popular.

Carbon offsetting can be part of a "carbon neutral" lifestyle and has gained appeal among the energy consumers in western world. We are becoming increasingly aware of the negative effects of our energy demanding lifestyles are having on the environment. The Kyoto Protocol has sanctioned official offsets for governments and private companies to earn carbon credits which can be traded on a marketplace. This has contributed to the increasing popularity of voluntary offsets among private individuals and also companies. Offsets are not an option to reducing your consumption but in our view every effort should be made to reduce your emissions both as a way 'doing your part' as well as saving money on your energy requirements.

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:: Carbon Flight Information

This is a very complex study and one that is still open to debate. However if you would like to follow this through please click on this link Defra Conversion Tables and go to page nine.

We have used an average base on broad based assumptions but they are in line with most calculations.

Our Calculator refers to return flights i.e. a return flight to Paris form London and back is one unit.

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:: Excess Carbon Emissions

If we were to take in the entire world the average production of Carbon Dioxide is approximately 3 tonnes per head of population. In the western world it ranges between ten and twenty five tonnes per head of population. In the UK we are told that the average is 10.92 tonnes per head of population with Government moves to reduce this number by 20% to 8.74 tonnes by 2012 and by 60% to 4.34 tonnes by 2050.

The problem is that even at that reduced level we are heavily polluting our environment plus we are going to run out of fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

It is estimated that a sustainable level of Carbon Dioxide CO² emission for the 6 billion people is 2 tonnes per head of population and that is assuming the population remains constant. So at the UK's rate of pollution we would need 5 worlds to sustain us. Whatever you make of the statistics we need to achieve much now. Every little helps.

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:: Industry and Lifestyle Emissions

Some explanations towards understanding Industry and Lifestyle Emissions

This part of the calculator is very complex and has to be seen as an 'informed assessment' . A large amount of work has been carried out by a variety of industry and governmental bodies to assess the individual impact without duplication with other usage calculations. We have used three tonnes per capita as an average which is most probably lower than the actual. Read below for more explanation if you wish.

The National Energy Foundation states that "around half UK CO² emissions come from industry and commerce supporting our everyday lifestyle" (www.natenergy.org.uk/CO²mment.htm). This means producing our food, clothes, consumables, and maintaining our national infrastructure. National average annual CO² emissions per capita are 10 tonnes, so our average "industry and commerce emissions share" is 5 tonnes each.

Part of industry & commerce provides infrastructure and resources that benefit everyone, and part of it provides the goods of "consumerism". We may all take a share of the CO² produced by the former, and the latter can be shared out according to consumption, which is largely linked to income. Public services and essential industries including health, education, defence, agriculture and construction produce 23% of industry & commerce CO² emissions. "Domestic consumption" including cars, recreation, electrical goods, clothing, and consumables account for 40% of industry & commerce emissions. "Trade" including wholesale, garages, showrooms and computer activities accounts for 7%. And heavy industry, including mining and the material production, accounts for 30%.

How should we estimate our personal share of industrial emissions? I would suggest a base of 1 tonne per person (20% of industry & commerce) towards the public and common amenities that nearly everyone benefits from. Further to this, the share may be proportional to income, being roughly one tonne for every £5,000 of income per person in the home. (I.e. if two people share an income of £40,000, this is £20,000 per person. This would represent 4 tonnes of CO².)

If you make a special effort to buy hand-made, second-hand, locally-produced, low-energy, un-mechanised products, and to repair rather than replace items, this will reduce emissions associated with manufacture. With considerable thought and effort you may reduce your income-related emissions by as much as half. (For example, I would say a car must be more than 10 years old before its manufacturing quota can be discounted). Make a guess at where you stand in this respect and enter your adjusted income-related emissions into the table. Add this to your base share of 1 tonne, to arrive at your total industry share.

Having read the above, please therefore make the estimations you feel happy with. If you earn a lot of money but spend little of it, or live almost entirely from the land, adjust your quota accordingly. However, in a society where most products and services are provided with the help of fossil fuels, it may be surprising how close the correlation is between income (or more accurately, expenditure) and CO² emissions. The aim of this calculator is to aid in reducing emissions. Simply being aware of CO² factors associated with industrial products should help toward this end.

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:: Sequestration

Carbon dioxide is incorporated (sequestration:- Literal Meaning. Removal or separation, a withdrawal into seclusion) into forests and forest soils by trees and other plants. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, store the carbon in sugars, starch and cellulose, and release the oxygen into the atmosphere.A young forest, composed of growing trees, absorbs (sequesters) carbon dioxide and acts as a sink. Mature forests, made up of a mix of various aged trees as well as dead and decaying matter, may be carbon neutral above ground. In the soil, however, the gradual build-up of slowly decaying organic material will continue to accumulate carbon, but at a slower rate than an immature forest.

Organic material in the form of humus in the forest floor accumulates in greater quantity in cooler regions such as the boreal and taiga forests. At warmer temperatures humus is oxidized rapidly; this, in addition to high rainfall levels, is the reason why tropical jungles have very thin organic soils.

The forest eco-system may eventually become carbon neutral. Forest fires release absorbed carbon back into the atmosphere, as does deforestation due to rapidly increased oxidation of soil organic matter. The dead trees, plants, and moss in peat bogs undergo slow anaerobic decomposition below the surface of the bog. This process is slow enough that in many cases the bog grows rapidly and fixes more carbon from the atmosphere than is released. Over time, the peat grows deeper. Peat bogs intern approximately one-quarter of the carbon stored in land plants and soils.

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:: UK Carbon Friendly

The British Government has undertaken to reduce the 10.92 tonnes CO² per capita by 20% by 2012. This will make the personal annual target per head of population 8.74 tonnes CO².

Our calculation is based upon how many Carbon Offsets Tonnes you would need to buy in order to conform to the lower level of 8.74 tonnes of CO² emission. Remember none of these figures are mandatory yet, if you buy offsets they are voluntary and are known as Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs)

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:: UK Government Target per Person

The Carbon Trust has found that on average the UK uses products and services with a total footprint of 648 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions each year. This means that the average Briton’s annual carbon footprint is 10.92 tonnes of CO², which can result from products they buy, leisure activities, travelling and heating their homes amongst others.

People are becoming more aware about product carbon footprints, presenting an opportunity for businesses to meet the demands of their customers and start to lead the way in reducing carbon emissions.

The British Government has undertaken to reduce the 10.92 tonnes CO² per capita by 20% by 2012. This will make the personal annual target per head of population 8.74 tonnes CO²

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:: Vehicle Emissions

Much talk and calculation has gone into producing accurate numbers for emissions for cars. Driving cars, vans, 4 x 4s or anything for that matter burns fossil fuel and leaves Carbon Dioxide behind. Below is an extract from a recent report on the way the European Union is viewing the situation and what there expectations are.

For the purpose of our Carbon Footprint Calculator we have used the 'average car' with emission profile of 163g/km of CO². This converts to  261g/mile of CO². If you know the emissions of your vehicle(s) then enter more or less miles to compensate.

We can make this sector as complicated as is necessary, but the idea is to keep it simple.

*Press Extract from 'New Scientist' February 07

A proposal to enforce limits on the emissions of new cars and vans sold in the European Union has finally been put forward by the European Commission (EC) after a two-week delay.

The legislation, if adopted by member states, would make it mandatory for new cars sold in the EU to produce on average 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre travelled by 2012. Vehicles currently emit an average of 163 g/km.

The move follows the poor performance with regard to voluntary targets set in 1999. At the time, European carmakers were asked to reach a 140 g/km target by 2008, while Japanese and Korean industries were set the same target for 2009.

An October 2006 report by the European Federation for Transport and Environment found that only Fiat, Citroen, Renault, Ford and Peugeot were on track to meet the target.

"The strategy has brought only limited progress," said the EC on Wednesday. Between 1995 and 2004, average emissions for new cars in the EU fell from 186 g/km to 163 g/km.

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