The Annual Climate Budget

In order to keep global warming at a sustainable level, the international community agreed on a goal to limit the average rise in Earth's temperature by 2050 to 2°C above the pre-industrial level.

In order to achieve this goal, we have a global budget of ca. 750 billion tonnes of CO₂ until the year 2050. Assuming that the average world population from 2010 until 2050 is 8.2 billion people, this means that each person on Earth has a yearly budget of approx. 2.3 tonnes of CO₂.

As the graphic below shows, the climate impact of a single flight is of the same order of magnitude as an individual's entire yearly budget. Accordingly, the budget can quickly be overdrawn. However, when the need to travel arises and a better climate alternative (e.g. video conferences of train trips within Germany and to bordering countries) is not available or not suitable, compensation of flight emissions with atmosfair is a sensible first step towards helping the climate.

Yearly climate budget and activities of an individual (please click on graphic to enlarge)

Yearly climate budget and activities of an individual (please click on graphic to enlarge)

Data source for the personal climate budget

The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WGBU) bases its calculations for fulfilling the global 2°C target (international agreement to limit global warming to 2°C) on a global emissions budget of 750 billion tonnes of CO₂ in the period from 2010 to 2050. Using this figure and the assumption that the average world population during that period is 8.2 billion, atmosfair calculated a yearly climate budget of 2.3 tonnes of CO₂ per person (source: WGBU Special Report 2009).