The material was created in cooperation with BNP PARIBAS
If it were reduced to one crucial issue, the carbon footprint is closely related to energy consumption. We need energy much more often than we realize it. We know that, for example, light or electrical equipment in the home requires energy, it also requires a means of transport that we move around, and the products we buy also need energy so that they can be created at all. The relationship between energy and the carbon footprint is so strong that most of the energy processed by our civilization comes from burning fossil fuels.
What does it mean? In simple words: we disrupt the natural circulation of carbon particles in nature, because we extract coal (also in the form of hydrocarbons, i.e. oil or natural gas), which millions of years ago was accumulated in the earth’s crust and does not participate in the natural carbon cycle. Burning fossil fuels, and thus producing energy from them, means that excess carbon is introduced into the natural cycle, both in the form of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This, in turn, affects climate change, which – as they continue to progress – threatens to collapse as we know it.
Calculate the carbon footprint – use ready-made tools.
Counting your carbon footprint yourself is not a trivial task. Yes, we are aware of the fact that by using, for example, electric lighting and other devices powered by electricity at home, we have an impact on our carbon footprint. When traveling by car, are we even more aware of the fact that our carbon footprint is growing? But what exactly is he like? Manually counting the energy consumed and converting it into the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by us as a result of this consumption is out of the question. Fortunately, there are tools that are easy to use, intuitive and understandable for everyone, allowing not only to estimate our current carbon footprint. Thanks to these tools, we realize how we can reduce our own carbon footprint. When very many of us realize this and actually start doing something in this direction, the effect of scale will actually give us a chance to stop catastrophic climate change.
One such easy-to-use tool that allows you to calculate our current carbon footprint is the so-called BNP Paribas Bank ecokalkulator. We will find it on a dedicated website available at:
After visiting the website, we start the appropriate carbon footprint calculator by clicking the Calculate button.
First, we receive questions related to our place of residence, the type of house we live in, the way it is heated, its thermal insulation or yardage. At this stage, we must also specify how many people live in our house (then the carbon footprint resulting from the energy consumption of the property is divided into the appropriate number of inhabitants). In addition, we must specify to what temperature we usually heat our premises in the winter, and also answer the question whether we have air conditioning at home (another electricity receiver). The carbon footprint is also important in how we heat utility water and how much we use it for our own needs. In this part of the Ecokalkulator’s operation, we still need to specify what type of lighting we use at home and how energy-saving electronics and household appliances we use. The calculator also takes into account whether or not we use renewable energy in our home (e.g. solar panels). Another set of questions asked by the Ecokalkulator BNP Paribas are transport-related issues. Whether we drive a car, and if so, with what drive (diesel, gasoline, LPG, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric), how much we drive on average per month and how much fuel our car uses on average. Regardless, we should answer questions about public transport, indicating which form of transport we use most often, and how many kilometers we cover on average (monthly) by any means of transport we use regularly. The question about the plane looks a bit different, in this case the mileage is not significant, but how many hours we spend in flight each year.
The next group of questions is about our diet and consumption of goods. We start by determining what products we choose because of their place of production and origin. It is obvious that nicely packaged exotic products will have a much larger carbon footprint than our local Polish agricultural products. Another issue is the frequency of meat consumption. It is not about promoting some particular form of nutrition. It should be remembered, however, that meat products in the production process (animal husbandry, production of meat preparations, etc.) generate a much larger carbon footprint than vegetable crops. The packaging method also affects the carbon footprint left by the food we buy. A nice packaging may look nice, but it has a much worse impact on the environment and climate than an unpackaged product or a fully biodegradable packaging.
In addition to food, it is also important whether, e.g. when buying clothes and industrial goods, we attach importance to whether they are used and whether we need them at all. Mindless consumption (I buy because new and nice, although I don’t need it) significantly contributes to undesirable climate change and negatively affects the biosphere of our planet.
The result and what we can do to improve it.
For most of us, the results of the calculations carried out by the BNP Paribas Ecokalkulator Bank may not be delightful. How can we improve this result? In an economically developed country such as Poland dependent on the energy sector powered by fossil fuels, reducing the carbon footprint to zero is not possible today. However, we can change our habits and reduce our carbon footprint. Just two years ago, the carbon footprint of the author of this text was 107% of the Polish average, 128% of the European average and as much as 179% of the world average. What can you do?
Change of housing is difficult. However, we can influence how our house / flat is heated, to what extent. Residents of multi-family houses can influence housing communities or housing cooperatives to thermomodernise the building (in this way we will not only get a lower carbon footprint, but a much more tangible thing – lower heating and energy bills).
It will also help to reduce energy consumption: changing the lighting from traditional incandescent bulbs to LEDs, the use of energy-saving devices, reducing the interior temperature in winter. Inhabitants of large cities, such as Warsaw, have a very well-developed public transport network (in fact, public transport in Warsaw belongs to one of the better-developed networks of this type in Europe and in the world, data from the website warszawa.naszemiasto.pl). Using the car only when it is absolutely necessary and will definitely affect our carbon footprint. Similarly, giving up air travel, segregating waste, buying local products, limiting meat consumption – all this has an impact. Today, the author of this text lives in the same apartment, but after changing his habits, his carbon footprint has decreased to 58% of the national average, 69% of the European average and 97% of the global average. And what result will you get?
The material was created in cooperation with BNP PARIBAS