How is my carbon footprint calculated?

The ClimateHero Climate Calculator estimates your carbon footprint in units of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2). This is the unit that climate researchers use to deal with the fact that the various greenhouse gases do not have the same strength in the greenhouse effect. As an example, one ton of methane gas has the same climate impact as 25 tons of carbon dioxide. This means that one ton of methane equals 25 tons carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2).

ClimateHero uses about 30 public sources to calculate your carbon footprint. Based on these sources and your answers in the climate calculator, we can estimate the emissions from your private consumption.

However, these estimates exclude a few tons per year associated with public investments and consumption financed by taxes (such as roads, hospitals, and schools) since this is not something that you as an individual can influence by changing your habits.

It is important that your carbon footprint is calculated as accurately as possible. But to us it is even more important that there is a quick and easy way for you to estimate your footprint and learn from the important lessons in the test. This is why the calculation contains some general assumptions, enabling us to limit the amount of questions and estimate your carbon footprint in five minutes. As a rule of thumb, we have chosen to exclude/simplify questions if the outcome is less than 0.1 tons CO2 per year.

Your carbon footprint should therefore not be interpreted as being precisely correct down to the decimal point. That being said, you will most likely end up in the correct category from the four archetypes we use to portray the carbon footprint (Climate Hero, Climate Friend, Climate Cheat, and Climate Villain).

As ClimateHero aims to help everyone on the planet to reduce their footprint, we use data sources that are internationally viable as far as possible, but supplement with country-specific data where necessary.

Click here to see a list of the data sources that the climate calculator relies upon.