The first step in becoming carbon neutral is to calculate your carbon footprint.

For Businesses

Go to our GHG Accounting Guide for resources to measure an organisation’s footprint using the GHG Corporate Protocol Accounting Standard.

For Individuals

The personal footprint calculator will estimate your emissions in a few minutes, or use the Global Average Carbon Footprint.

Personal Footprint Calculator

There are different factors that contribute to a person’s carbon footprint. Many personal calculators use average emissions, relating to the level of greenhouse gases produced within a particular nation.

The carbon calculator from Clever Carbon is a good, simple one where you can get your results right away. Go to https://clevercarbon.io/quiz/ to run in full screen.

But there are plenty of other footprint calculators on the Internet that you could use. Some may be complex, needing a lot of information and some may require you to pay at the end.

If you would like to work out your personal carbon footprint in exact detail, then you can download the spreadsheet from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

See our GHG Protocol Accounting Guide and UNFCC tutorials for more information on how emissions are calculated.

Global average carbon footprint

Use can the Global Average of 15 tonnes per year which the Institute has determined is a reasonable estimate, for people living in developed economies. Whilst the amount may not be the exact amount of a your emissions, it balances out statistically.

A problem with footprint calculators is that they will always have an uncertainty margin and never be absolutely correct. When you use the Global Average, you can go carbon neutral without delay, rather than spending time and money trying to work out their exact carbon footprint. Better to spend that time and energy on emission reduction and offsetting.

Emissions per capita (tonnes of CO2) FootprintTotal annual emissions (tonnes of CO2)
Australia 16.96417.04 million
USA16.215.27 billion
Canada15.55571.14 million
China6.929.84 billion
Germany9.44775.75 million
UK5.81387.39 million
Nigeria0.64122.78 million
Organisations such as Our World in Data or WorldoMeter provide average figures on how much CO2 the average person emits in different countries.

Offset Emissions

The next step in becoming carbon neutral is to offset your emissions with Carbon Credit Certificates that finance verified projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

A Carbon Credit or Carbon Offset Certificate represents tonnes of carbon dioxide abated from the atmosphere in order to compensate for your emissions.

Certificates that are offered for sale through the Institute are authenticated by third-party certification programs and scrutinised by the Institute to ensure they are legitimate.

Some carbon-offset projects can be scams. In one notorious case, an Hungarian company,  KlimaFa, produced offset certificates for millions of trees that were never planted.

You can choose from a range of certificates which are supported by the Institute.

A popular choice is the multi project certificate which supports a several projects in one.

Multi Project Certificates

Multi Project Certificates support a three outstanding projects and makes a great gift idea.

United States

Wind Power – Crow Lake Project

2 x tonnes carbon offsets

Australia 

Reforestation & Biodiversity 

1 x tonne carbon offset

plus 1 x Australian Biodiversity Unit

Thailand

Siam Group Biomass CO2 reduction

2 x tonnes carbon offsets

When you buy offset certificates and you are actually financing projects to remove/reduce carbon in the atmosphere, buying us time to make the transition to low carbon economies.

Reduce your emissions

This should be done on an ongoing basis. See the emission reduction program which is provided free of charge by the Institute for organisations and individuals.

When you buy offset certificates you are investing in verified projects that slow down global warming.

They are buying us the time we need to switch to low emission economies before we hit irreversible tipping points.

If we hit these tipping points it means that it is too late and nothing we do will be able to stop climate change.

“Unless we reduce and offset our emissions going into the atmosphere we we may reach the point of no return”

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report.

person holding a green plant

Disclaimer: The CLIMATE CHANGE INSTITUTE has provided this greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions tutorial and calculator to give businesses and the general public with a free and up-to-date methodology for estimating GHG emissions. The aim is to support organizations to estimate their GHG emissions in order to raise awareness and to promote climate action. However, the CLIMATE CHANGE INSTITUTE makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any of his information or Spreadsheet and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an “as-is” basis. All data and information provided on this Spreadsheet are for reference purposes only. The emission factors used on this Spreadsheet are publicly available on third parties’ websites. The contents in, and linked to, this spreadsheet may not always reflect the policy or position of the CLIMATE CHANGE INSTITUTE nor does it imply endorsement. Under no circumstances shall the CLIMATE CHANGE INSTITUTE be liable for any loss, damage, liability or expense incurred or suffered that is claimed to have resulted from the use of this information and spreadsheet, its data or its methodology, or from the conduct of any user. Use of this Spreadsheet and reliance upon the content in or linked to it is solely at the user’s own risk. Furthermore, this Spreadsheet does not replace a formal, tailored GHG inventory development process nor third-party verified GHG inventories and should be not used for certification purposes. The emission factors used in this spreadsheet are sourced from references that may not be applicable to all geographic locations. The user is encouraged to use more suitable emission factors when they are available. Each user agrees to decide if, when and how to use this Spreadsheet, and does so at his or her sole risk.