by Warren Karlenzig
Reposted from WorldChanging
While personal carbon calculators are turning into a dime-a-dozen offering across the web, the unveiling of Zerofootprint’s carbon counter at the C40 Climate Summit last week ushers in a new era of a large scale web-based data warehousing that can aggregate carbon emission information from city government, companies, universities, neighborhoods, groups or families. [Full disclosure: Zerofootprint provided offsets for the Worldchanging book tour in 2006.]
Toronto Mayor David Miller announced that his city would be using the tool, called Zerofootprint Toronto, to calculate carbon emissions for the city's 50,000 employees this July. The free tool will also be available to others in the city, so that it begins to build a “bottom-up” analysis of carbon emissions complementing the “top-down” analysis cities, counties and local government are currently engaged in with groups such as another Toronto-based non-profit, ICLEI.
The mayor said Torontoans will be able to use the Internet-based tool to calculate their own carbon footprint--which includes the amount of energy and water used, waste generated, how they get around, consumption habits and food choices. Results can then be aggregated and sliced and diced so that profiles of city, neighborhood to glean personal carbon footprints. Zerofootprint runs on a database architecture developed by billion-dollar software company Business Objects, said Zerofootprint founder and CEO Ron Dembo, so it can scale up to millions of users because of its enterprise software backend.
ICLEI, which has a membership of over 550 local governments worldwide, is also updating its limited-user circa 1990s carbon emissions software to a tool accessible on the web that can run local government carbon calculations and data reports. The international non-profit is working with Microsoft to release the software by the end of 2007, according to a Microsoft executive.