Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Promoting Pollution Prevention Through Information Exchange

GLRPPR Sector Resource: A Comparison of Carbon Calculators

A Comparison of Carbon Calculators

International attention to carbon dioxide emissions is turning to an individual's contribution, or "carbon footprint." Calculators that estimate an individual's CO2 emissions have become more prevalent on the internet. Even with similar inputs, however, these calculators can generate varying results, often by as much as several metric tons per annum per individual activity. This paper examines the similarities and differences among ten US-based calculators. Overall, the calculators lack consistency, especially for estimates of CO2 emissions from household electricity consumption. In addition, most calculators lack information about their methods and estimates, which impedes comparison and validation. Although carbon calculators can promote public awareness of carbon emissions from individual behavior, this paper reveals the need for improved consistency and transparency in the calculators. Full citation for the article: Padgett, J.P.; Steinemann, A.C.; Clarke, J.H. Vandenbergh, M.P. (2008) "A Comparison of Carbon Calculators." Environmental Impact Assessment Review 28, 106-115. There is a charge for individuals to access the full text of the article without a subscription.


Environmental Impact Assessment Review

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GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


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