BP's Carbon Footprint Calculator

The British Petroleum (BP) company is offering the world a "carbon footprint" calculator on it's website. A full run through takes only a few mintues, it's well designed for novice users, and the results give some indication of where next steps might be best taken. In that you are reading TreeHugger, we'll bet you've already done the easy stuff to reduce your "footprint" and are struggling with college payments, heating bills, and the like. Not much money left for solar panels or buying a high mileage car. What we're driving at is the question of whether rational tools like this calculator can actually motivate significant personal investment choices or whether they're just feel-good toys we use to show ourselves we've done the best we can? If so, the world also needs a calculator that would output a "Public Policy Advocacy Footprint". Corporations and NGO's would use it to determine the long range positive impact on society and the natural environment of trying to influence public policy one way or the other instead of letting the people speak directly to their legislators. Ideally the calculator would deduct the funds donated to Think Tanks from more constructive investments such as designing more efficient cars or emission controls, giving us a profile of action versus intent.

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