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When it comes to carbon footprints, location and lifestyle matter
Date:4/15/2011

p>As a result, the opportunities to reduce emissions are vastly different. For the West Coast household, improving the fuel efficiency of their motor vehicles from 20 miles per gallon to just 25 miles per gallon would save the equivalent of completely eliminating electricity in their home. In environmentally conscious San Francisco, going further by driving gas-sipping hybrids may also enhance the couple's social status.

The Midwest family, on the other hand, can save over $100 per month, or 5 percent of their monthly net income, by making healthier low-carbon food choices, such as reducing calories and buying chicken, fruits and vegetables instead of red meat, dairy and processed foods. Cutting electricity consumption by 20 percent would save them an additional $30 per month. Driving a slightly more efficient vehicle could save the household $50 per month and much more with ultra fuel-efficient vehicles, but this benefit must be balanced with safety concerns and convenience, given the demands of raising three children.

In all, the study analyzed typical household carbon footprints in all 50 U.S. states, 28 regions, six households sizes and 12 income brackets for a total of several thousand possible combinations of household types.

The results of this analysis have been summarized in an online "carbon calculator," located at http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu, that can be used by any consumer to estimate his or her carbon footprint and identify the areas where lifestyle changes would create the largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our primary message is simple:If you are concerned about reducing your carbon footprint, or the carbon footprint of others through policy, it is important to focus on the actions that lead to the greatest reductions," said Kammen. "Our online tool can help people do just that."

Users can get a quick estimate of their carbon footprint profi
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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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