Climate neutral - what is it?
We all have a carbon footprint. Every hour, every day, every year. In our European societies, this footprint has an average size 0,72 t of greenhouse gases per person per month. Hence, we are on average 8,6 tons per year and person away from living a climate neutral life. In short, climate neutral means bringing your personal greenhouse gas balance to zero. .
What are CO2-equivalents?
The proportion of carbon dioxide (CO2) - by far the most important greenhouse gas - at our emissions footprint is roughly 7,4 t out of the 8,6 t overall annual footprint in Europe. The remaining 1,2 t are distributed mainly to the greenhouse gases ozone (O3), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), which all have a significantly higher global warming potential than CO2. In order to be able to compare the effects of all greenhouse gases, the other gases are converted to CO2 and are then referred to as CO2-equivalents (CO2e). The CO2e footprint per person in western societies is roughly twice as high as the global annual average of 4.9 t CO2e. For the sake of simplicity, at GoClimateAction we use the terminologies "carbon", "greenhouse gases", "CO2e" and "CO2" synonymously.
A climate neutral life is possible
By living a more climate conscious life, each of us can avoid carbon and reduce carbon emissions. For example, by less air travel or the use of green electricity. There are numerous possibilities for additional climate action in everyday life - you will find useful tips here.
But what can we do if we want to live fully climate neutral, but our own carbon footprint can't be avoided or reduced any further?
For our remaining emissions, carbon offsetting is the only remaining solution.
Using the three steps "avoide, reduce, offset", each of us can live a climate neutral life.