Carbon Footprint Calculators

October 29, 2008

Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and is a regular contributor to this page. ThomsonReuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.

Last month, GV environment looked at Maps, online communities and carbon footprint calculators. Since then there have been more calculators released, and in this post we list some of these new tools for the public to calculate their CO2 emissions.

PEIR – Personal Environment Impact Report
PEIR is not only a carbon footprint calculator, it is a more advanced version of it, giving you a detailed and personalized report about your environmental impact and also your exposure. It uses the GPS (Global Positioning System) capability and the accelerometers on the mobile phones to collect data. When speaking about the environment, particulate matter in the air (smog) and even other choices that we make about what food to eat can be influenced by what we see around. It helps the user to consider more factors than just CO2 emissions. If you were aware of the number of fast food restaurants in your area, would that affect the choices you make?

The PEIR was developed by the Center for Embedded Network Sensing at University of California, and it is currently in private beta testing.

Below is a video that gives an overview of the PEIR application.

On the Carbon Smart blog, Rory points us to another carbon footprint calculator

Carbon Diem

Carbon Diem works by utilizing the GPS information from new mobile phones. Rory described it best when he wrote:

The world’s first automated carbon calculator has been developed by London-based firm Carbon Diem using software that turns your GPS-enabled mobile phone into a tracker that can figure out whether you are walking, driving or flying — and calculates your carbon impact based on the amount of travel you do using each mode. You don’t have to do a thing. So will you?

He adds his thoughts on whether knowledge of ones’ carbon impact would urge people to change their lifestyles.

… The way mobile phone applications are going, there could be lots of ways in future to tie this kind of tool with incentive schemes, but for now altruism is all there is.

Do you know of other carbon footprint calculators? Would you use the tool on your phone?

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A lot of online carbon calculators are unfortunately not very good. I have published a peer-reviewed article in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control evaluating the 15 most popular calculators on the internet ( ticle/pii/S1750583613002168). My analysis documents significant shortcomings of many of the calculators. To remedy this situation, CarbonStory was created as a free calculator meeting all 13 evidence-based principles identified in the research (

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