What’s My Car’s CO2 Footprint In Units of Newly Planted Trees?

Nurse log, spruce or fir, central Colorado, wi...
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Did you ever wonder what reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1 million metric tons means in everyday terms? The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator can help you understand just that.

It can be difficult to visualize what a “metric ton of carbon dioxide” really is. This calculator will translate rather difficult to understand statements into more commonplace terms, such as “is
equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of X number of cars annually.”

For example, one passenger car emits about 5.5 tons of CO2 in a year, and that’s equivalent to the CO2 produced through the energy use of about 1/2 a home in a year, or the CO2 sequestered by 141 tree seedlings grown for ten years. That’s a lot of trees!

If you’re interested in more in-depth calculations on how forests take up CO2, this paper (PDF) by J. Doyne Farmer, a professor at the Santa Fe Institute, discusses the Forest Guardians, now the Wild Earth Guardians, CO2 carbon offset calculation.

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