A climate contribution per person
To limit the greenhouse gas emissions related to human activities, there are many steps one can take, such as insulating our house, using renewable energy, travelling by bike or train… For many of these measures, performance indicators and labels exist that make it possible to objectify their environmental impact and to include them in a regulatory framework. Well-known examples are the CO2 emissions of cars (in grams of CO2/100km) and the energy performance certificates of houses (in kWh/m².year).
However, these indicators are insufficient to keep actual greenhouse gas emissions within the planet’s climate budget. After all, many low-emission cars and many kilometres still produce a significant amount of CO2 emissions, and many efforts for energy savings in the house are cancelled out by the building extensions associated with the renovation or by the location of the house necessitating greater transport distances. Moreover, the environmental impact of, for example, the production and recycling of a car, house or any other consumer good, is often forgotten.
There is a need for a more holistic assessment of the environmental impact of our activities, incorporating the external effects of efficiency measures and determining the impact over the entire life cycle of a good. This should include a more absolute performance indicator: the total greenhouse gas emissions per person (and per year), taking into account the capacity of the earth: a climate contribution per person.