What gets measured gets done, particularly if you make it public. Family carbon audit for 2020.


Our 2020 emissions were - approximately - 17.5 Tonnes of CO2eq, for two adults and one kid. That means we reduced our emissions 22.22% compared to the year before.

Still, clearly, a long way to go, but I’m really happy about this. We should be on track to have cut our emissions 50% from 2018 levels by the end of 2021.

Here is a breakdown of how 2020 compared to 2019 and 2018:


As you could see in the chart above, the primary driver of lowered emissions is less flying. We also has lower emissions from cars, mostly from trying to use the hybrid over the truck as much as possible.


Let’s be honest - the flying is lower because of covid. This would not have been as significant of a reduction, had we travelled as we normally do.


2021 is a year of major change for us, because we are giving up using our ICE vehicles and leaving our house for a “green” apartment building.. in Europe.

As I’m writing this, we’ve moved to Southern Sweden. We no longer have cars, bike everywere and live in a passively cooled apartment.

I’m very intrigued about doing an analysis of this shift next year. In theory, the Swedish grid is extremely clean - and all our appliances are now electric, no more natural gas.

However, the heating is from Swedish cogen plants, where they burn plastic and biomass for heat. I haven’t looked up any life cycle studies on this yet, but intuitively it seems our natural gas furnace would be better environmentally than heating with biomass and plastic.. but we will see.

Clearly, that will be widely outweighted by the much, much cleaner Swedish grid electric, and the near-total drop in CO2 from driving. We’ll still have 4-5 months of US car usage in next years books, and we have borrowed cars a few times that I’ll have to try to take into account.

Final thoughts

I know I need to expand the analysis to cover the glaring omissions - steel and concrete used for our house, and transportation for our consumption. The first two seem.. tenable? Figuring out emissions from transportation of all our crap seems very hard!

But, I also don’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good. This flawed analysis, I think, is accurate enough that it helps make better decisions, and I can improve it over time.


Same as in 2018.

See also