Our Carbon Dioxide Budget

I have been hit by a lot of different things that have shaken me awake to the stark reality of what future we are facing. I read the book The Ascent of Humanity which I have mentioned previously, me and Mr LIL started watching Our Planet (narrated by the amazing David Attenbourough) on Netflix, I watched Greta Thunbergs TED talk (she is a 16 year old Swede who started the school strike for the climate that has spread around the globe) and I listened to one of my podcasts where Sören Andersson (a sustainability consultant and blogger in Swedish) was a guest.

All of these reminded me (ironically since I just wrote a post on how well we were doing) that the changes that we have done will not be enough. As Greta talkes about with the English Paralament: the house is on fire and we need to act like it. We have had years where we barely have done anything to slow the emissions but now we need to act! We are running out of time to change the ever rising curve of carbon dioxide emissions.

Sören Andersson was talking about our carbon dioxide budget on the podcast that I was listening to and he has also written a blog post. He has calculated a carbon budget that each person has based on how much carbon dioxide we as a whole can release into the atmosphere and still stay under 2 degrees warming (which will still have a huge impact on our planet) and how many people we are projected to be 2050. This budget is 37 ton CO2 per person. And this number is FOREVER. It is not 37 ton CO2 per year. You have 37 ton CO2 for the rest of your life. If you go over your own budget you are taking from someone elses budget. Think about how many tonnes you have already used while the childen born today only have 37 ton for their entire lives and their children will have 0 tonnes since we have to reduce our emissions close to zero during this century.

This is 1156kg CO2/year. If we compare with a trip to Thailand, the emissions from just flying there are around 5 tonnes so one trip to Thailand is well over the yearly budget and eats up around 13% of your TOTAL budget. Driving a Volvo for a “normal” amount per year is around 1,5 tonnes of CO2, so that too is over the yearly budget. And then we have food, consumption of things, heating, electricity, other transport… The average Swede releases 10 660kg CO2/year (the global average is 4812 kg CO2/year). To keep within our carbon budget demands huge change, Swedes need to reduce our yearly emssions with 90% starting now (or we should have started 30 years ago)!

Everyone needs to start thinking drastically different about how we use resources. We can’t keep just ignoring reality and continuing the business as usual linear model. This is a crisis and we are running out of time until we have wrecked irreversable damage to the planet and all the organisms dependent on it including us. This will be the time that future generations (if there are any) will look back at and curse us for not doing anything when we had time and a planet teeming with amazing life and biodiversity. We know the facts, we even know what we need to do so what’s left is to just start doing what is necessary for us and all life to survive on this beautiful planet. We have no planet B.

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