I found this article raising the challenges facing carbon labeling interesting. Basically the point being, calculating the carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing and transportation of product sounds like a really great way for users to make informed decisions about the products they choose. But given the huge and extremely complex (and expensive) task of standardising the way these kind of calculations are made, it seems unlikely that it will catch on.
Of course, the challenge we face with reducing our own footprint is that it is such an abstract concept to grasp. When you are a regular smoker for example, it's not long before you start wheezing and coughing and feeling like they might actually be some truth in the messages that tell you cigarettes are killing you. Maybe the promise of extreme weather, political and financial instability may have not been enough to get people to alter their lifestyles. But now we're actually seeing some of these things happening around us, maybe we'll start to see some change in the way people consume?
The UK government have launched a carbon calculator recognising the complexity and confusion in this area.
"This calculator is a real innovation, using up-to-date, authoritative data and recognised calculation methods. As the calculator improves and develops I want it to become the gold standard for calculating CO2 emissions from individuals and families," said David Millband looking a little smug and pleased with himself. (probably)
I think this is a brilliant initiative. I'm not sure if we have one over here in Denmark. Maybe we should suggest it?
China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures released today show.
The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China's growing role in driving man-made global warming and will pile pressure onto world politicians to agree a new global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy. China's emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world's biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year.
But according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, soaring demand for coal to generate electricity and a surge in cement production have helped to push China's recorded emissions for 2006 beyond those from the US already. It says China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US. Britain produced about 600m tonnes.
For anyone who hasn't seen this already, Richard Branson has stepped to save the human race and planet earth. He's throwing money at the problem. Judging by their slick logo for this project one of the terms and conditions is that we accept a large Virgin branded planet as our new neighbours.