What is a Carbon Footprint?
A Carbon Footprint is a measure of how much you contribute towards global warming. Everybody has a carbon footprint and according to the United Nations Statistics Division, the amount of carbon emitted is:
- 16 Tonnes per year per person in Brunei
- 13 Tonnes per year per person in Singapore
- 7 Tonnes per year per person in Malaysia
This website enables you to calculate your own carbon footprint. If you have your recent utility bills (electric, gas, water) then try our free carbon footprint calculator. Compare your carbon footprint to other people living in Brunei and see how much you contribute to global warming.
Click here to view the results of the Brunei Carbon Calculator
What is global warming?
Global warming is caused by a blanket of gases in the atmosphere that trap in some of the heat from the sun. The rising temperature of the earth will cause dramatic changes to the weather, the melting of the polar ice, cause coastal flooding and lead to widespread crop failures.
Although the temperature of the earth has risen and fallen over thousands of years it is believed that man’s impact on the environment by burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) and cutting down forests, has had an impact on our planet. We are already seeing the effects – unpredictable weather, storms, reduced crop yields and the melting of polar ice.
There are a number of greenhouse gases but Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Methane(CH4) are commonly talked about. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. When it is naturally broken down in the atmosphere it forms CO2 and water.
What is happening about it?
The issue is becoming increasingly urgent, the Kyoto Protocol, the Copenhagen Summit and other World Forums have tried to get a world wide agreement about tackling the global warming issue. There currently isn't any worldwide legislation covering CO2 emissions but a system of "carbon trading" is used in some parts of the world.
The EU have taken proactive steps to reduce total energy usage by 20% by the year 2020. This is a challenge when you consider that the EU has to remain competitive with China, Asia and the US.
There is no Brunei specific legislation concerning CO2 emissions. Some companies however are looking at their carbon footprint and finding ways to reduce it.
What about Brunei?
Brunei is known as a green country. There is a large amount of rainforest in Brunei, which absorbs (takes in) CO2 and release oxygen. By comparison, countries that neighbour Brunei have cleared large amounts of their forest. Their forests are cut (or burned) to make way for farm land, housing and to sell the timber. Some of the forest is cut illegally.
The oil industry sustains the economy in Brunei and has prevented the need for wide scale logging. As oil reserves run dry the country will need other sources of revenue and perhaps selling timber will be one of them. Compared to other countries in the world, Brunei's total carbon footprint is small. This is to be expected due to the small population size and lack of industrialisation. However an alarming statistic is produced when you divide Brunei's total carbon footrpint by the number of people living in Brunei. The quantity of carbon per person is equivalent to a typical Japanese person. Surprising when you consider that Japan is a highly industrialised nation.
Why is this the case? It is an interesting question worthy of full investigation. But we could speculate that the following reasons contribute to this:
- Urban sprawl - as the population of Brunei grows the towns and cities sprawl outwards. In terms of carbon footprinting, urban sprawl versus high density housing (e.g. Singapore), produces a higher carbon footprint. Providing efficient infrastructure is more difficult, residents can rarely walk to where they need to go and providing public transport services is very challenging. Some studies have suggested that 15 houses per hectare is needed for infrastructure to be cost-effective, and 25 houses/ha for public transport to be viable.
- High car use - Bruneians love their cars. High reluctance to take the bus. Limited public transport options available. Cheap fuel and easy access to loans makes car ownership affordable for most people.
- Building design - few buildings currently incorporate "green" thinking into their design. Extensive use of air-conditioning is required to cool buildings like this.
- Attitude and Education - Generally the older generation are less environmentally aware than younger people. Children learn about global warming and conservation in schools. Some people are very wasteful of energy.
- Open Burning - despite being an illegal activity, everyday a large number of people burn leaves and garden debris in their garden. Housing developers after clearing an area of land burn the trees they have cleared.
If you have your own ideas why people have a high CF in Brunei, then please share your ideas via the email address at the bottom of this page.