Many studies have shown that people who live in the city help the environment by having a much smaller carbon footprint than those living in the country. However a new study shows that this is not the case, and that no matter where you live, your carbon footprint will be pretty much the same.
Researcher Jukka Heinonen and Professor Seppo Junnila from Aalto University in Finland allocated carbon emissions to the consumption location, rather than to the production location.
If a TV set is made in a factory in the countryside but bought and used by a person in a town, the carbon emission generated from making the television should be allocated to the consumer, not to a manufacturer making it for the consumer, said Jukka Heinonen
The study also used a new hybrid lice cycle analysis (LCA) approach that quantified carbon emissions by looking at production, monetary transactions, and consumption statistics to accurate track usage.
Prior to this study, hybrid LCA’s were too complicated to be effectively used in a study like this.
The researchers looked at people in the two largest metropolitan areas in Finland, the Helsinki region and the Tampere region, and found that the biggest impacts on a person’s carbon footprint came from housing energy, heat and cooling, construction and maintenance of buildings, and private transportation.
And while transportation does increase the carbon footprint for someone living in the countryside, the overall impact is minimal when compared with other factors.
Their research showed them that carbon consumption was directly linked to a person’s income and consumption habits.
For instance, rich people fly more and, as a result, produce much more CO2 emissions than people earning less, Heinonen says.