The year is 2025. The Australian Government has just legislated a price on carbon at $50 per tonne, under the Australian Climate Dividend scheme. There is now an incentive for each and every Australian to reduce their individual carbon footprint, to maximise the dividend they take home. Every tax-paying Australian will receive a dividend of $1,310 per annum, and price increases due to the price on carbon are expected to be approximately $1017.50 per person per annum. This means every Australian, with the average carbon footprint (20.86 tonnes) will gain on average $292.50 per year by not changing their habits at all.
Yet what if they reduced their carbon footprint by 5 tonnes, or 10 tonnes per year? It would mean they’d gain an extra $250 or $500 per year respectively! The challenge is on!
The lower your carbon footprint throughout the challenge, the more of the dividend you’ll take home!
AVERAGE CARBON FOOTPRINT for an Australian
At September 2019, Australia had a total population of approximately 25.45 million people (ABS). Emissions for the year to September 2019 were 530.8 Mt CO2-e. Therefore in 2019 the per capita emissions for each Australian was 20.86 tonnes.
In 2008 a Massachusetts Institute of Technology class carried out an assessment of carbon footprints of different lifestyles in the U.S. They found that “regardless of income, there is a certain floor below which the individual carbon footprint of a person in the U.S. will not drop,” says Timothy Gutowski, professor of mechanical engineering, who taught the class that calculated the rates of carbon emissions. Therefore someone living in a developed nation dependent on many fossil fuel sources of energy cannot achieve a carbon footprint of 0, a major factor being the array of government services that are available to everyone including police, roads, libraries, the court system and the military, as well as education and medicare.
The average annual carbon dioxide emissions per person in the US, they found, was 20 tonnes, compared to a world average of 4 tonnes. The “floor” below which nobody in the U.S. can reach, no matter a person’s energy choices, turned out to be 8.5 tonnes. That was the emissions calculated for a homeless person who ate in soup kitchens and slept in homeless shelters. Making a comparative calculation, the floor in our Carbon Challenge will therefore be 8.87 tonnes.
AREAS of CALCULATIONS
The 5 areas we’ll be calculating for people’s carbon footprint are:
– Electricity – Gas – Transport – Food – Waste
Throughout the one week period we’ll require people to keep a daily log of their transport and food habits. Waste will be calculated weekly based on contents of their garbage bin. Electricity and gas will be a simple reading taken before and after the one week period.
Bonus points (or maybe even calculate the small fraction that it contributes to their carbon footprint) for their BANK and SUPERANNUATION FUNDs, and how they are rated in terms of investments in fossil fuels.
We will have an app where people will be able to easily and simply fill-in their daily transport and food habits, as well as weekly waste habits. We’ll require a short 5 min survey before the challenge commences on the 17 May to determine what type of transport vehicles each person owns and uses, and other details e.g. number of people in your household.
Once the week is over, and all the data has been collected, we can finalise the take home of the dividend for each challenger.
The carbon footprint for the week will be multiplied by 52 to produce their annual carbon footprint, and then the floor of 8.87 tonnes will be added to reflect their final carbon footprint. The final carbon footprint will be multiplied by $50. Subtracting this amount from $1,310 will give their annual dividend under the Australian Climate Dividend scheme.
Prizes for the top 5 challengers.
There will be a leaderboard on the homepage of the CCL Australia website of the top 20 challengers, which will update daily.