Images of climate innovation

The Place-based Carbon Calculator

The Place-based Carbon Calculator,, is a free tool which estimates the per-person carbon footprint for every neighbourhood (census Lower Super Output Area or LSOA) in England. It draws on a wide range of data and research to give a representative view of how carbon footprints vary across the country. PBCC is intended to help communities and policy makers understand where their carbon footprints come from and what we need to do to reduce them.

A heatmap of England showing high and low carbon emission areas.

National commitments made at COP meetings must be implemented in the real world: this means local settings. It, therefore, benefits from clear, easily understandable data to support a place-based understanding of decarbonisation needs and opportunities. The Place-based Carbon Calculator is the first-ever web tool calculating and mapping the average carbon footprint at the neighbourhood level across England.

The map shows high carbon (red) and low carbon (blue) communities. The free tool uses a range of rich but hitherto underused datasets and calculation methods to bring key aspects of personal/household carbon footprint into sharp focus. For example, the huge carbon footprint from the small proportion of frequent fliers, a vital fact obscured in official carbon accounting for decades. Or how moving to the countryside can treble a person's carbon footprint at the same level of income.

It also shows the vital importance of embodied carbon in our consumption of goods and services (typically half of the carbon footprint) and the urgency of decarbonising domestic heating. The smaller inset images show examples of the detailed popup report provided for each neighbourhood and the tools ability to map public transport frequency and travel times.

Neighbourhood level data is vital for spotting opportunities to decarbonise and targeting policies in the area where the greatest savings can be made. The key takeaway is that in England's unequal society, to deliver rapid decarbonisation, England's prosperous neighbourhoods need to pull their weight. Those who need to do the most are those who have the money to do the most.

Entrant: Malcolm Morgan , Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds

Copyright: Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS)/Ordnance Survey