When it comes to carbon footprints, location and lifestyle matter

April, 2011
UC Berkeley News Center
Tips to reduce your carbon footprint frequently include buying compact florescent light bulbs, taking your own bag to the grocery store or buying local produce. But how much difference do these actions make?

A new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that who you are and where you live make a big difference in which activities have the largest impact.

“Everyone has a unique carbon footprint,” says Christopher M. Jones, lead author of the study and a researcher in UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL). “There is no one-size-fits-all set of actions that people should take.”

The study by Jones and RAEL director Daniel Kammen, a UC Berkeley professor of energy and resources who currently is on leave at the World Bank, appears in the current issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Carbon footprints are a measure of the greenhouse gases released during the production, use and disposal of products and services. The production phase includes all processes between the time raw materials are extracted from Earth until they reach consumers as finished products in stores. The study considers the carbon footprint of all household economic activity, including transportation, energy, food, goods, services, water and waste.

A World Bank Perspective on Photovoltaics

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 5:00pm - 7:30pm

Please join BERC for a talk by Dan Kammen, Professor at UC Berkeley and Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency at the World Bank.

Professor Kammen will provide a perspective on the global development of photovoltaics.

The talk will start promptly at 5pm, followed by cocktails and hors d'oevres until 7:30pm.

Space is limited. Please note that because of the high profile of this event, no-shows will receive lower registration priority for future BERC events.

Register here for the event

On Cookstoves, Research Paves Way to Action

March, 2011
The Great Energy Challenge Blog at National Geographic
It may come as a surprise to know that half of the global population uses biomass (wood, agricultural wastes and dung) and coal for cooking.

For Sub-Saharan Africa where electrification rates outside of South Africa are only 28 percent, biomass and coal are the primary cooking fuels for over three fourths of the population. Combustion of unprocessed biomass fuels, especially in open or poorly ventilated stoves, emits high concentrations of pollutant mixtures – particulates, and carbon dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide – associated with a number of respiratory and other diseases and is the leading cause of death among infants and children worldwide.

Since the task of cooking is mainly done by women and girls, it is they who face daily exposure to levels of pollution which are estimated to be the equivalent of consuming two packets of cigarettes a day (Kammen, 1995; Ezzati and Kammen, 2001).