Carbon Calculator Methodology

Saanich Carbon Calculator – Your Individual Goal

In order to have a chance of keeping global warming to 1.5 oC, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be cut in half by 2030 and reduced to net zero by 2050, according to the 2018 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report

In Saanich, personal GHG emissions average approximately 6-7 tCO2e per year. This is derived from the 2015 Saanich Ecocity Footprint Tool results [PDF - 1 MB], and only includes things that an individual has direct control over (how they travel, energy used in their home, their food choices, and what they buy and throw away). The personal result does not include the impact of national and provincial services, like health care and military; as well as the emissions associated with creating community infrastructure like roads and buildings. The number is then divided by the Saanich population to give an average of 6-7 tCO2e per person per year.

In order to achieve a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, Saanich individuals would need to reduce their emissions on average to 3-3.5 tCO2e per person per year. In order to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050, Saanich individuals would need to reduce their emissions on average to zero tCO2e per person per year. An individual will not be able to achieve zero tCO2e per year using this carbon calculator due to a minimum of 0.96 tCO2e required annually for a plant based diet. To acheive the 2050 GHG emissions target will require a level of carbon sequestration and considerable progress made on agricultural soil management practices to achieve this goal.

Saanich Carbon Calculator Methodology

The Saanich Carbon Calculator allows individuals to calculate how many tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) they have emitted in a year, calculated in tCO2e. Short for "tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent," tCO2e is a handy way of talking about all GHG emissions (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane, and refrigerants, etc.) together in the same measurement.

The Calculator is aligned with the 2020 Climate Plan: 100% Renewable & Resilient Saanich. It is based upon the data, methodology and results of the 2015 Saanich Ecocity Footprint Tool results [PDF - 1 MB]. It calculates an individual’s GHG emissions from all of the goods and services that the person consumes, regardless of where those goods and services are produced around the world. It is focused on emissions at the individual (not household) level.

Climate action is required from all levels – by individuals, by businesses and by governments. The personal result provided by the Carbon Calculator only includes things that an individual has direct control over, including how they travel, energy used in their home, their food choices, and what they buy and throw away. The personal result does not include the impact of national and provincial services, like health care and military; as well as the emissions associated with creating community infrastructure like roads and buildings, which are included in the community-wide Saanich Consumption Based Emissions Inventory (CBEI) in the 2015 Saanich Ecocity Footprint Tool results [PDF - 1 MB].

The Food Consumption and Consumable Goods and Waste sections use a consumption-based emissions approach, which includes the energy used in production, processing, transportation, and disposal. Getting to zero in this tool is not possible, as the results by default include a low-carbon baseline diet (0.96 tCO2e). The emissions associated with the production and transport of our food and consumables will need to decrease significantly over time. These default emissions in the calculator will need to be updated over time as they are reduced.

The Transportation and Buildings sections look only at emissions from fossil fuel or electricity end use, not at the embodied carbon emissions associated with building roads, vehicles, and building materials like concrete, wood, and bricks. If embodied emissions were included, the personal transportation and building emissions would be larger. Emissions factors for buildings and transportation are taken from the BC Best Practices Methodology for Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions.