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FAQ about the Ducky Climate Calculator
In this article we will present frequently asked questions about our climate calculator.
Q: What is CO2e?
A: CO2e stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Some greenhouse gases have a stronger heating potential than CO2. Therefore, the emissions of these greenhouse gases are translated into CO2 equivalents, which is a common standard for the impact a certain quantity of greenhouse gases have on global warming.
For example, it will be 25 times worse to release one kg of methane (which is the gas cattle burps the most) than CO2 (which is released from cars). One kg of methane released corresponds to 25 kg CO2e.
Q: Why do your numbers differ from other footprint sources?
A: A climate footprint cannot be measured directly; it is calculated based on available information and a number of assumptions. For this reason climate footprinting is not an exact science and different methods will give different results.
There are many ways to calculate a CO2e footprint. At Ducky, we use two broad methods to calculate the emissions an individual generates, which we’ve detailed below, but since an industry or academic standard measurement doesn’t exist, other footprint calculations will differ. The data bases and reference year of the data the calculations may also influence the results – luckily the world is headed in the right direction, and newer data often yields a lower footprint.
“Top-down” vs “Bottom-up”
A: When it comes to food consumption for instance, we would typically use a “bottom-up” approach, where we take your intake and total the emissions that come from the different food groups you consume . – This is in contrast to a “top to bottom” approach, where we would look at the emissions of food by the total Norwegian population and divide it by the number of citizens.
In Ducky we use a combination of the bottom-up and top-down approaches, and use results from the two to verify our calculations. This approach gives the most accurate results possible and we are confident that our footprint calculation is state-of-the-art.
Both the bottom-up and top-down approaches require you to choose databases. For life cycle assessment data, we use a number of different LCA databases depending on the topic, as some databases are better in some areas than others. A full overview can be found in our complete documentation.
For the top-down calculation an input-output database is used. We have previously used Exiobase but are currently in the process of transitioning a model based on Eurostat, constructed by Asplan Viak. We’ve chosen Eurostat because the resolution is higher since it is Europe-specific rather than global, and because it is updated yearly, rather than every 5 years as is the case with Exiobase.
Q: What is the difference between emissions and a footprint?
A: For example, Ducky makes an estimation of the footprint that is consumption based, while in public statistics the estimation of emissions are regional. The numbers that public statistics provide usually refer to direct emissions that occur physically in Norway – meaning every direct emissions from industries and businesses divided by the number of citizens.
In Ducky’s estimations, we calculate the emissions caused by the average consumption and lifestyle in Norway. This includes both direct emissions caused by e.g. car driving, but also indirect emissions that are imported with foreign raw materials. Our number is therefore a footprint and not an emission.
Based on your input parameters, we adjust your footprint compared to the average. For example, if you specify that you are a vegetarian, we would change your food footprint by adjusting your meat consumption to zero and increasing your consumption of grain and vegetables.
Q: We have a more climate friendly heating source than the alternatives available in your calculator. Which alternative should I choose to come as close as possible to correct CO2e emission from energy sources?
A: We have tried to cover the most common heating methods, but unfortunately we don’t have everyone. You’ll get the most correct footprint by choosing x as the main heating source, together with adding approximately how much x you use per year.
Q: I want to edit all aspects of my CO2 consumption, how do I edit more than one topic?
A: To edit multiple areas of your consumption, touch the orange plus sign on the right side of the calculator. Then you will be allowed to change the content. Remember, you must press “update” to save your answers.
Q: Can I see the status of my consumption and how I am doing compared to the 1.5 degree goal?
A: As of today we do not offer a correlation between the temperature target and the private consumption. We only offer comparison to an average Norwegian who has an annual footprint of 13,7 tonnes CO2e. However, for us to reduce our emissions by 50% within 2030, and reach zero emissions in 2050 we have to reduce our emissions by approximately 5% each year on average. We will most likely visualize this better in the future, and meanwhile you can estimate how much you have to reduce your footprint on your own.