A researcher from Columbia University has created Carbon Catalogue, a tool that visualizes the carbon footprint of nearly 900 products from 28 countries. The tool displays the carbon footprint of a product during three lifecycle phases: upstream, such as when firms acquire the raw materials to make a product, manufacturing, and downstream, such as when a consumer uses a product. By visualizing the upstream and downstream emissions, users can see where there is the most room to reduce carbon emissions. For example, the visualization shows that over 95 percent of the carbon footprint for residential air conditioners comes in the downstream phase.
Visualizing the Carbon Footprint of Consumer Products
Michael McLaughlin is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation. He researches and writes about a variety of issues related to information technology and Internet policy, including digital platforms, e-government, and artificial intelligence. Michael graduated from Wake Forest University, where he majored in Communication with Minors in Politics and International Affairs and Journalism. He received his Master’s in Communication at Stanford University, specializing in Data Journalism.
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