Welcome to the Carbon Footprint site!

We are excited about launching this web site. Many years  of our research have gone into developing models and analyzing data on  the connection of industrial production, consumption and environmental  pressures.

Profound insights have been gained, and an approach has matured which  we think is indispensible to address climate change and resource  scarcity. Now, we feel that the world really should pay attention! We  want to use this website to communicate our research findings to a  broader public and to enter into a dialogue with those interested.

Climate change is now increasingly acknowledged as the most urgent  global environmental problem. Humans have changed the composition of the  atmosphere in a manner that disturbs our planet’s energy exchange with  the rest of the universe, thereby leading to a small but measurable  increase in temperature on our planet. The main process by which we have  changed the atmospheric composition is combustion. Combustion happens  on fields, in industry, in stoves and car engines, mostly intentionally  and for a specific purpose.

Our problem is that while politicians are waffling about how to  address the climate challenge, the rate at which the concentration of  greenhouse gases increase is itself increasing. Energy consumption increases, and the fraction of carbon dioxide absorbed by the biosphere and oceans may be going down. It is hence important to act – but to act, we need to know what to do.

The occasion of opening this website is the publication of a paper by  Dr. Glen Peters and myself, modeling and analyzing the carbon footprint  of 73 nations. Here you can find out whether, in your country, it is  nutrition which contributes most to the average person’s footprint,  housing or mobility. You can see how your country does, compared to  others, and how much of the carbon footprint is due to imported goods.

Our main message is: all of our purchases are relevant to the  climate. The attention often focuses on the direct use of energy. Yes,  that is where we are causing the highest emissions of greenhouse gases  per unit money spent. But on the aggregate, the emissions caused by the  production of goods and services we consume are more important. We need  to reduce both direct and indirect. We need to be careful that the  reduction of direct emissions does not shift emissions elsewhere.

Of course, the problem is exceedingly complex, and there is much more  to the story than the headline. I hope this website will be able to  shed some light on important aspects that have often been overlooked.