Carbon Dioxide Emissions Calculator
This carbon dioxide emission calculator will help you gain an approximate idea of how many tons of carbon dioxide some of your activities generate and how many trees it would take to offset those emissions.
Calculator usage instructions
- Enter the appropriate figures into the quantity column - all fields are optional. If you usually work in metric, there's also a handy conversion feature below.
- The number of tons of CO2 emissions will be displayed in the right hand column.
- At the bottom of the form, the total estimated amount of carbon dioxide emissions will be displayed as an annual and monthly figure in short tons (1 short ton = 2000 pounds).
- Below the emissions figures will be the estimated number of trees needed to offset those emissions both annually and monthly.
- Explanatory notes are below the calculator as to how those figures were obtained.
Notes on CO2 emissions/offset calculator:
The calculator is not designed to be 100% accurate as there are too
many variables required in order to give a reliable emissions total. It
is simply to give you an indication on how much carbon dioxide you
generate and how many trees it would take to offset those
Bear in mind that just about all we do in modern life produces
a carbon footprint, well over and above what occurs in the natural
world. For instance, the computer you are viewing this on was produced
using processes that create carbon emissions. Offsetting should be
seen as a last resort; reduction in consumption is the first line of defense
against global warming.
The calculations are based on the following:
- Household electricity is based on a figure of 1.5 pounds of carbon
emissions per kilowatt hour generated by a coal fired power station.3 Averages
for USA based on Department of Energy, for Canada, the Ontario
Ministry for Energy; for the UK, UK Environment Watch and for
Australia, various state government environmental departments
- Natural gas emissions calculated on 0.12 pounds of carbon dioxide
per cubic foot.5
- Fuel oil based on 22.29 pounds CO2 emissions per gallon.5
- Small car emissions calculated on .59 pounds emissions per
passenger, per mile1
- Medium car emissions calculations based on 1.1 pounds of carbon dioxide
emissions per mile1
- SUV/4 wheel drive carbon dioxide emissions based on 1.57 pounds per
- Air travel emissions based on Boeing 747 at average USA capacity and calculated
- Train travel calculations based on average occupancy of intercity
- Tree offset calculation is based on a tree planted in the humid tropics
absorbing on average 50 pounds (22 kg) of carbon dioxide annually
over 40 years2 - each tree will absorb 1 ton of CO2 over its
lifetime; but as trees grow, they compete for resources and
some may die or be destroyed - not all will achieve their full
carbon sequestration potential. This calculator assumes
that 5 trees should be planted to ensure that at least one lives to 40
years or that their combined sequestration equals 1 ton.
- General waste is based on the USA average5 carbon
dioxide emission equivalent of 1010 pounds per person per year.
Please note, if
your household recycles all glass, paper, plastic and cans; this aspect
of the calculation could be as much as 50% less. The food aspect of
the calculation is based on a vegan diet; i.e being 1.5 tons per
person less than the American average of 5,600 pounds of CO2
equivalent emissions per year8.
- Based on the average American diet generating the equivalent of
1.5 tons more carbon dioxide per year than a vegan diet.4
1 Source: Sightline Institute
2 Source: Trees for the Future
3 Source: Various studies from around the world; averaged
4 Source: Diet, Energy and Global Warming - Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin.
University of Chicago study, May 2006
5,6,7 Source: USA Environmental Protection Agency
8 Source: Livestock's Long Shadow - Food and Agricultural Organization Of The United Nations 2006