Carbon Visuals helped newly re-launched BP Target Neutral project by providing consultancy for the web calculator designed to help motorists reduce, replace and neutralise carbon dioxide from driving. The calculator, aimed at the general public, is the first in the world to show actual volumes of CO2 which change in size as different reduction actions are chosen. In addition carbon spheres can be compared against averages for other countries as well as the UK 'target' reduction for 2050.
We also provided a number of bespoke images to highlight transport emissions in the UK, emissions of different transport types as well as transport emissions per capita for different countries.
Our Creative Director, Dr Adam Nieman also provided an overview of the importance of carbon visualisation
The first visual image uses Spaghetti Junction on the M6 near Birmingham as this basic ground. The familiar image from the British road network makes the immediate point that this is about roads, but then uses the recognisable scale to locate a cube-like shape showing the volume of carbon our cars, lorries and buses put into the atmosphere every day.
The cube presents this visually, while the simple captions fill in the specific details. This, the image is saying, is what 90,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide look like, and that’s what we’re pumping into the atmosphere every day. Suddenly the daily figure is something real and dramatic.
This image moves on to break that data down in order to offer another insight. It shows how much of the overall daily figure is caused by personal transport (you and me driving in our cars) and how much is commercial transport (freight and buses).
It makes the point simply and clearly that our individual driving habits have the biggest impact on the greenhouse gases behind climate change. It doesn’t tell us what we can do about that, but it supports a critical point about our personal responsibility for the problem.
Then we have two images designed to show significant facts about emission variations from country to country. They use a simple chart-like series of columns to present this data, with some graphical transport elements to bring home the subject. The first image shows emissions relative to population size where it’s clear that the taller the column, the worse the environmental implications.
Dramatic too are the tiny columns for India and China. But then you have to ask yourself what would happen if either of these fast-developing countries had the same per capita emission rates as the US.
The second of these two bar chart images adds a non-partisan political dimension, adding dotted lines to each of the bars to show how countries closer to home are doing in relation to their own targets.
The last images show at a glance the different emissions associated with different types of transport. Once again private cars emerge in a dramatic position compared to other modes, but then the data presented so simply and clearly here could inform many kinds of discussion about our choices for the future.
The BP Target Neutral Methodology PDF below outlines the data, calculations and assumptions in the image set.