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Page last updated at 20:53 GMT, Wednesday, 22 February 2006

My carbon footprint

By Justin Rowlatt
BBC Newsnight

Ethical man graphic

So how much of an impact does one - pretty ordinary family - have on the environment?

View a piechart of Justin's carbon budget breakdown

I went to see Professor Tim Jackson of the University of Surrey. He's an expert on the impact consumers like me have on the environment and has agreed to work out my so-called "carbon footprint".

Tim's an inquisitive man. It was clear why he wanted to know some things: my gas and electricity use for the last year; what sort of car we've got and how far we've driven it; how I get to and from work; how big our house is and what sort of windows and insulation we have (or do not!).

But he also wanted some pretty personal information - asking about the holidays we've had, our shopping patterns, and my income.

JUSTIN'S CARBON BUDGET
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And the result? Well not quite what I'd imagined - my family is responsible for almost 10 tons of carbon a year!

I'd thought that we would be well below the national average given how little we use the car and how careful we are about energy use in the home.

In fact we are well above it - three tons of carbon above the average, to be precise.

The question now is - what can I do to reduce that figure...?

Justin and Bee's carbon budget
Total 10 tonnes carbon


Source: ESRC Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment (RESOLVE), University of Surrey



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