What if personal carbon footprint is registered and recorded like taxes?
The other day when I and my colleagues were having lunch at the office, this idea struck me hard. I was reading about how a country try to estimate and record carbon footprint for certain achievement, and also how a certain institution (DEFRA) created a magnificent standard table for every kind of emission that cover almost every aspect that may emit carbon in our daily life (download the conversion tables here). They even created a Microsoft Excel xls file that calculates all the amount for you, all you got to do is input the required value.
The file is actually created for company reporting, but it’s a good start to use it for personal accountability, no?
Fig. 1 Example of Road Transport Conversion Factors from DEFRA
I imagine that most of us are lazy enough to account our carbon footprint daily, moreover there is no certain benefit for our effort to count all this absurd and invisible carbon emission thing. To counter that, there should be an institution, maybe some kind of tax directorate kind of thing that make sure your taxes (or in this case, emission) recorded monthly.
Not only limited to personal accounted emission, companies and formal institution should also be accounted for their emission. The emission may come from electrical usage, company’s private transportations, etc.
There also should be a certain emission limit that one should not surpass, or else they get penalty. This level may refer to our country annual emission target, and could be divided into some classes with different emission limits, just like taxes. I imagine the penalty system may work like the carbon trading system. Where people with excess emission can buy some carbon emission allowance (or carbon credit) to people who have plenty emission allowance. So people who save their emission would be rewarded with money, no?
In case one should avoid the penalty, means they should reduce their carbon footprint. There are plenty of ways invented and suggested to reduce carbon footprint, changing transportation mode, using biofuels, solar panel, and many more, it cost us more money to buy this things. And it seems useless because there is no certain reward system for the reducing carbon footprint effort.
Other alternative of penalty is that they required to do any means of carbon sequestration. The easiest way is tree planting. The carbon sequestration can be accounted from nowadays to the future and it can be added to their carbon emission allowance.
Then how if everyone save their emission allowance so that there is no excess emission left?
Then our neighborhood would be very comfortable, there is no pollution, greens in most places, bicycles, etc. ‘rite? At this level, I don’t think the people still need the monetary reward for their controlled personal emission. The environment would give benefit directly to them.
This is still an abstract idea, and mostly nowadays only large institution with huge carbon footprint willing to compensate.
I spent about 1000 km per month using 150cc motorcycle. According to DEFRA conversion tables I emit 1.0641 kg CO2e direct GHGs and 0.2076 kg indirect GHGs, totaling to 1.2717 kg CO2 GHG equivalent. We only need 1000 more people do what I did monthly so we get 1.2 ton CO2e equivalent GHG emission. Imagine what Jakartans did monthly with around 1000 new motorbikes in a day . It just the motorbikes, not mentioning the electricity, water consumption, flights, inter-cities, etc.
Try to account yours.