My ice-print: 30 square metres lost every year

January 11, 2017

I know the planet is warming, I know the risks involved, but my personal impact has often seemed distant and abstract. Until I found out about my ”ice-print.



It’s hard to get people to change their behaviour. As individuals we’re motivated by different things: some of us are motivated by numbers, some by positive stories, some by pictures, some by emotional appeals, some by scare stories. So we need a range of communication tools to persuade people to reduce their emissions.


My current favourite is the ”ice-print.” Research by the MaxPlanck Institute for Meteorology and published in the journal Science found a direct relationship between the September sea ice coverage in the Arctic and cumulative greenhouse gas emissions over the last 60 years. This means that the impact of future emissions on the sea ice can be predicted .


The conclusion:


For each tonne of CO2 emissions, the summer sea ice cover in the Arctic is reduced by 3 square metres. So my ice-print is 30 square metres, each year. That’s something I can visualise, the area of our family living room.


That’s a very sobering thought. Especially when you think of the 1,25 billion citizens of OECD countries, each of whom has an ice-print of 30 sq metres on average, every year.