A household carbon footprint calculator for islands: Case study of the United States Virgin Islands

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Author: 
Shirley, R., Jones, C.M., Kammen, D.M.

Island regions are at a heightened level of vulnerability to climate change impacts and recently a great degree of political attention has been given to planning low-carbon economic strategies for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). To develop useful mitigation strategies, an understanding of greenhouse gas emissions currently attributable to various social sectors is necessary.We use consumption-based life cycle accounting techniques to assess the carbon footprint of typical households within the US Virgin Islands. We find the average carbon footprint in the territory to be 13 tCO2e per year per capita, roughly 35% less than the average US per capita footprint. Also, electricity and food aremuch larger contributors to total footprint than in the US. Results highlight scope for behavioral and technological changes that could significantly reduce the footprint. The model has been developed into an open access online tool for educational purposes.