What does "climate neutral" mean?
We all have a CO2-footprint. Every hour, every day, every year. In our western societies, this footprint has a size of approximately 1 t of greenhouse gases per person per month according to the emission calculator of the Federal Environment Agency. Hence, we are approx. 12 tons per year and person away from living a climate neutral life. Climate neutral means bringing your personal greenhouse gas balance to zero.
What are CO2-equivalents?
The proportion of carbon dioxide (CO2) - by far the most important greenhouse gas - at our emissions footprint is roughly 10 t. The remaining 2 t are distributed mainly to the greenhouse gases ozone (O3), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N.2O), which all have a significantly higher climate damage potential than CO2. In order to be able to compare the effects of all greenhouse gases, the other gases are converted to CO2 and are then referred to as CO2-equivalents (CO2e). The CO2e footprint per person in western societies is more than twice as high as the global annual average of 4.9 t CO2e.
A climate neutral life is possible
By living a more climate-conscious life, each of us can avoid CO2 and reduce emissions. For example, by less air travel or the use of green electricity. There are numerous possibilities for additional climate actions in everyday life for each of us - you will find many useful tips here.
But what can we do if we want to live fully climate neutrally, but our own CO2-footprint can't be avoided or reduced any further?
For our remaining emissions, carbon offsetting is the only remaining solution.
Using the three steps "avoide, reduce, offset", each of us can live a climate neutral life.