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 Klimaatomslagpunten infographic
Graphic shows potential tipping points and selected personal carbon footprints.



By Duncan Mil

December 7, 2023 - A new study by the University of Exeter warns that the Earth is on the verge of five environmental threats unless individuals significantly reduce their lifestyle carbon footprints.

The Global Tipping Points report identifies risks, including the collapse of ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic, the widespread thawing of permafrost, the death of coral reefs in warm waters, and the collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) -- which delivers heat to the gulf stream -- caused by melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

“Tipping points in the Earth system pose threats of a magnitude never faced by humanity,” said Tim Lenton from Exeter’s Global Systems Institute.

Quoting data presented by Lewis Akenji of Germany’s Hot or Cool Institute -- an analysis of lifestyle carbon footprints of ten sample countries -- gaps between current per capita carbon footprints and targets require rapid and radical reductions.

Canada led estimates of annual average lifestyle carbon footprints per person with 13.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO₂e) per person. Indonesia had the lowest footprint at 2.2 tCO₂e.

The Hot or Cool Institute calculates that to meet the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement consensus to keep global warming to “well below two degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels” while ”pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C,” individuals need to aim for a lifestyle carbon footprint target of 0.7 tCO₂e by 2050.

PUBLISHED: 07/12/2023; STORY: Graphic News