Assess your personal carbon footprint

When you decide what to do to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, it can be very helpful to have a sense of what parts of your life produce the greatest emissions. If you are like most people, you don’t want to obsess over dozens emissiont. of different actions for reducing your emissions footprint, so you will want to focus on a handful of actions and you will want to make sure that each of those actions has a big impact.

Which actions will have the biggest impact on your personal or household emissions footprint will be different if you live in a house in the suburbs, on a farm in the country, or in an apartment in the city. Online emissions calculator (also called carbon calculators) can help you estimate your personal emissions footprint and identify which actions you could take that would have the greatest impact.

These calculators are not perfect—they make many assumptions and generalizations that may not apply to you. But despite these flaws, they can still be helpful at getting you started on identifying opportunities to reduce your emissions.

If you are interested in learning more about these calculators, you may want to look at this paper, which assessed the strengths and weaknesses of many calculators: J.P. Padgett et al., “A Comparison of Carbon Calculators,” (2008).