sample pledges and avoided emissions

Each of us will more easily live up to some pledges than others. If you live in a rural area, you may not have much flexibility about using a car, but you may be able to switch off a freezer or eat less red meat. If you have to fly overseas for work, you may only be able to cut out discretionary overseas travel or you could switch to GreenPower in the home.


The commitment tool can be found at https://livingthechange.net/commitment-tool.

The following calculations let you know the amount of CO2 equivalent potentially avoided by the various pledges in the Australian context, which is not the same as elsewhere. They are based on averages in Australia, eg, average meat consumption per capita here. Note that these are very much approximations. In offering most of these figures, we are very grateful for the help of sustainability expert, Paul Swift.

Action - transport                                            Saving in kg CO2 equivalent              

Walk rather than drive 3 km                                      .56 each time

3 days a week, public transport to work, not drive    10.9 per week or 520 p.a. (say, if work is 25km away from home)                

Avoid stop-overs on long haul flights                        estimated 25% of emissions are avoided (source: GreenFaith)

Always use public transport to get to work                 920 p.a.

Make your next car a hybrid                                     1,730 p.a.

Avoid long-haul flights                                               4,600 per Melbourne-Los Angeles return

                                                                                  6,000 per Melbourne-London return

Avoid air travel except for family emergencies          eg, 460 for 2 x Melb-Syd return 

Have one less car in the family                                  1,800 p.a.

Action – energy

Replace all lights with LED’s                                        470 p.a. (LED’s use 75% less elec.)

Stop using a dryer for a year                                        280 p.a.

Increase thermostat on air con by 1C in Summer        40 p.a.

Decrease thermostat 1C in Winter                               150 p.a.

Halve your use of air con                                              930 p.a.(assuming typical usage)

Household switch to GreenPower                                5,900 p.a.

Install a 2kW solar array                                               2,600 p.a.

Action – food

Reduce household’s food waste by 50%                        330 p.a. (emissions from production only, not methane from landfill when food is discarded)

Eat 5 vegetarian meals each week                                 900 p.a./household             

Eat cheese or dairy only once a week                            150 p.a. /person                             

Compost all non-meat food scraps                                 170 p.a./person                                           

Make at least half my meals meat-free                           470 p.a./person                                                         

Eat chicken instead of beef or lamb                                640 p.a. /person                                           

Eat meat only once each week                                       690 p.a. /person                                           

Adopt a plant-based diet, except for dairy                       940 p.a. /person                                           

Adopt an entirely plant-based diet                                  1,300 p.a./person                                     


You're invited to reflect on what might work for you and experiment before committing yourself to one or more lifestyle changes. Our volunteer sustainability expert has made some calculations around some sample pledges. Take a look at this Smorgasboard of options and you may find some pledges to whet your appetite, or think of options which a realistic for you.

from https://livingthechange.net/my-commitment

The CO2 equivalent you could avoid through pursuing these pledges:


1. Assuming the Australian average for meat consumption, around 95 kg of meat – 44 kg chicken, 22 kg beef, etc - a year, if a typical Australian intended to halve this, the emissions saved = 473 kg CO2e (CO2equivalent) per year

Which is the equivalent of planting 3.3 trees

2. Assuming a level of meat consumption at the Australian average, if a typical Australian replaces all beef and lamb with chicken, the emissions saved = 638 kg CO2 per year

Which is the equivalent of planting 4.5 trees

3. I will cut my red meat consumption down by 2 x 130 g portions a week ie, approx. 1.1 kg of red meat per month.

Emissions saved = 223 kg CO2e per year

or 1.6 trees

4. I will cut back on cheese consumption by 250 g per week.

Emissions saved = 96 kg CO2e per year

or 0.7 of one tree



5. Each year, I will cut out 4 separate flights between Melbourne and Sydney (whatever the direction) and find alternatives eg, video conference, train travel

Emissions saved = 459 kg CO2e per year (or 115 kg CO2e each trip)

Which is the equivalent of planting 3.2 trees

6. Each year, I will cut out a return flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles (or equivalent) on an average plane.

Emissions saved = 4,602 kg CO2e per year

or 32.2 trees

7. Each year I will cut out a return flight from Melbourne to London (or equivalent) on an average plane?

Emissions saved = 6,090 kg CO2e per year

or 42.6 trees

8. From now on, one day a week I will go to work (assume 20 km each way) using public transport or car-pooling, instead of taking my (assume average) car.

Emissions saved = 379 kg CO2e per year

or 2.6 trees

9. I will replace my SUV with a small car.

Emissions saved = 892 kg CO2e per year

or 6.2 trees



10. I will put on a 3kW solar system on my rooftop.

Emissions saved = 3,645 kg CO2e per year

Which is the equivalent of planting 25.5 trees

11. I will switch to GreenPower.

Emissions saved = 4,828 kg CO2e per year

Or 33.8 trees

12. I will stop using one (assume average) freezer.

Emissions saved = 332 CO2e per year

Or 2.3 trees

13. (Assuming gas and electricity usage of a typical Australian household for air conditioning and heating....) From now on, we will halve the amount of time we will cool and heat the home, and instead “rug up” more in winter and use fans in summer.

Emissions saved = 957 CO2e per year

or 6.7 trees


by Paul Swift and Thea Ormerod

details can be supplied, on request to [email protected]