Assess your environmental impact with Carbon Footprint Calculator | Download Product Review - CNET

Assess your environmental impact with Carbon Footprint Calculator

Estimate how much carbon dioxide you're producing with this simple tool.

Your carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that you produce through such activities as traveling, using electricity, consuming food, and other aspects of daily life. Carbon Footprint Calculator is a simple program that can help you calculate your carbon footprint and identify areas where you might be able to reduce your output.

The program's interface is simple and easy to navigate, consisting of only one screen with a variety of simple questions about your daily activities. There's a transportation section, an energy section, a recycling and activities section, and a food section. Some items listed in these sections make more sense than others; it seems perfectly reasonable to ask us how many miles we drive and fly each year, and how much electricity and natural gas we use each month, but why does Carbon Footprint Calculator care whether or not we have a checking and savings account? Some of the items were overly simplistic, too; there are only three choices for "typical recreational activities," and they include movies, plays, and restaurants; walking, running, and hiking; and flying, ATVs, and boating. We do plenty of walking and hiking but we also go out to eat a lot and see a fair number of movies, so it was hard to make an accurate choice here, although we understood generally what the program was getting at. Once we had estimated the amount of food we eat each day, the amount of trash we produce each week, and our participation in a variety of other carbon-producing activities, the program displayed the number of tons of carbon dioxide we produce each year, helpfully pointing out that the average United States citizen generates about 20 tons a year, while people in other industrial nations average around 11 tons. It's easy to play with the numbers--decreasing the miles you drive and increasing the miles you ride a bus, for example--to see how changes might affect your output. Overall, Carbon Footprint Calculator is a useful tool to help you see how much you're contributing to greenhouse gases, and we recommend it.

Carbon Footprint Calculator installs and uninstalls without issues.

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