Wild About Africa

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I don’t believe My Carbon Footprint –

Based on @rafikikenyas post about his big fat carbon footprint I thought I’d do mine and prove that I’m naturally much less of an earth destroyer.Rafiki Kenya discovered that his footprint is 11 tonnes per year – THREE TIMES BIGGER THAN THE WORLD AVERAGE AND BIGGER THAN THE AVERAGE FOR INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS which is TOTALLY SHOCKING!!!

Rafiki Kenya's fat footprint

GUILTY EARTHDESTROYER RafikiKenya has this to say

Yes, my carbon footprint is bigger than the average footprint for people in Kenya, bigger than the average worldwide carbon footprint, and even bigger than the average for the industrial nations. Since we are not talking about the size of my manhood here (Tsk only a guy would say this) – which wouldn’t be a cause for alarm – but about the size of my carbon footprint, something needs to be done about it here and now.”

I used the same carbon footprint calculator powered by Carbon Footprint as RafikiKenya used. The results are even more shocking! Knowing that I’m a good tree hugger I did the same carbon exam and found that despite the fact that I am a vegetarian, I only do essential driving (ok it is a landrover – Damn Kenyan potholes) and I only buy local vegetables, I hardly go out, I don’t buy the latest gadgetry I’m just as bad as Rafiki Kenya ..if not worse because I didn’t know how to enter household gas and electricity equivalent!

My results were not much better than his

  • Your footprint is 21.03 tonnes, which equates to 10.51 tonnes per year
  • The average footprint for people in Kenya is 0.31 tonnes
  • The average for the industrial nations is about 11 tonnes
  • The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 tonnes
  • The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 tonnes

I HOPE THAT THIS IS ALL DAMN LIES, ALL OF IT! Because if its not then the world is really messed up – if we in Africa have to reduce our impact by 80% on an individual basis I just can’t see how we’d function.

Africans in nations like Kenya have an individual footprint of .31 tons – that’s one 7th of the global average and one fortieth of the industrial average. Yet we are facing devastating impacts of climate change already with a drought that has killed 80% of our livestock, low rainfall and failed crops, forest cover loss that has dried up streams and stolen our power generation.    Climate change is causing conflicts and hundreds die annually as a result not to mention the thousands who are dying of starvation. And resolving starvation by planting more food is a sure way to make things worse – land use change is the greatest driver of climate change. We’re screwed.

This graph is from WildlifeDirects Baraza blog and should help you understand why I’m so pessimistic – carbon emissions must decline to pre 1990 if we are to save the planet as we know it. That means the average American reduces his or her impact by at least half. Well if my emissions in Nairobi are as big as the average Americans and I don’t even heat my house then I really wonder what they can cut out – meat, driving, buying stuff …really? That would drive the country into an economic recession … hey isn’t that what we’re bailing ourselves out of right now with a few cool trillion dollars?

According to a report on BBC today, industrialized nations promised Africa US$ 400 million per year to cope with climate change …and payments were supposed to start in 2001. That means that there should have been 400 x 9 or 360000000  or put it this way 3.6 trillion dollars sent to AFrica. Well, to date only US$ 260m (not even 10% of the promise)  has been placed in a bank and the rest cannot be accounted for.

It’s in todays headlines:

Africa seeks climate change cash

Climate change help for the poor has not materialised

So, whatever promises are made in Copenhagen, get drunk but don’t bother cheering  – divide promises by about 12 and you’ll find we’re on the trajectory to frying the planet. Lets face it Africa is already frying.

Carbon payments and offsetting MY ASS

What can we do as Kenyans? Well Rafiki Kenya is undertaking  a great solution patented by @kahenya – it’s called swear for trees and it might help to relieve your tension but will do nought for climate change.

I have a better idea – the climate change calculator puts a huge amount of emphasis on what we buy and how we travel so I should change my car for a motorbike, stop international travel (my one flight to China costs the atmosphere 5.16 tons – equivalent to 15,000 km of driving in my car! A flight to NYC from Nairobi costs 2.7 tons. Equivalent to using a motorbike all year long. Damn.

I thought that being a vegetarian would count for something but that calculator seems to be faulty…


November 25, 2009 - Posted by | Conservation


  1. Thanks for linking to my post, darling, and sorry for the guys’ language in it (glad you didn’t edit it though).
    Looks like you do too much of international travel, maybe we should also look at which airlines/planes we take (I understand the newer planes are more carbon friendly) and have some of our meetings through videoconferencing or explore other new technologies.

    Comment by Rafiki | November 25, 2009 | Reply

  2. I was having a chat with my Granddad (Elizabeths farther) and even though he is slow and old, and maybe a bit too republican he does know a lot about climate change. Even though he believes its all lies fabricated by “politicians who want my money!” The thing is, its not as simple as we would like it to be. Carbon emissions are only one factor in the machine that is a collaboration between our, earth, atmosphere, solar system and sun. I can safely say that I don’t know enough of the bigger picture to comment and that i need to learn more… i see a lot of reading ahead of me! thank god for libary cards!

    Comment by keggaz99 | November 28, 2009 | Reply

    • amen on library cards Keggaz! It is complicated which makes it tough to communicate …I am going to do a radio piece on it.. have you listened to my stuff on Prx.com ?

      Comment by paulakahumbu | November 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. put me on your blogroll!

    Comment by keggaz99 | November 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. […] } In a previous post I was disgusted with the size of my carbon footprint. Do you know the sources of your carbon […]

    Pingback by Can planting trees erase my fat carbon footprint? « Wild About Africa | November 30, 2009 | Reply

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