Friday, June 17, 2011

The One Tonne life is hard

 way down to 2.5 tonnes we didn’t have to make any major compromises in our everyday lifestyles. After that, however, things got tougher. Living at the 1.5 tonne level was an extreme experience for us,” comments Alicja Lindell. 
When Andreas Carlgren switches off Vattenfall’s smart Energy Watch monitoring system in the “One Tonne Life” house, this will mark the end of the groundbreaking trial by the Lindell family (father Nils, mother Alicja and children Hannah and Jonathan) to cut carbon dioxide emissions to one tonne per person per year. This corresponds to the level that will probably be necessary in order to avoid serious climate changes.

This has been a high profile project sponsored by corporate interest to show that already with best possible technology a one tonne life is possible. Was it successful. Well that can be discussed. The data need to be studied closer. And there are some conditions that are rather special. By converting to an electric car and electric heating in the house - and claiming to use only renewable energy (hydro-power). But honestly, there will not be enough renewable energy to allow people to use cars in the current extent. The carbon footprint of their jobs, schools is not included - except for the food they eat, also not the carbon footprint of the society infrastructure. Per capita emissions of public consumption are estimated at 2 tonnes CO2-eq/capita/year in Sweden (Naturvårdsverket, 2008). Last but not least - the family has not traveled anything by a air.
The method report is found here.

Conclusions: One can do a lot, but it is very hard to reach a one tonne per capita level. And it will require far-reaching lifestyle changes as well as system changes.

Promotional movie:

First published 15 June, updated 17 June

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