There are quite a few apps and services selling personal carbon offsets, but most of them today rely on general surveys with questions such as "What kind of home do you live in?" or "How much do you drive per year?"

By combining data sources from Operating System for Climate Action, such as utility bills, driving records, travel data, and other sources of large carbon emissions, we could build an app which calculates a person or family's carbon emissions from actual data.  This could then be linked to carbon offset purchases, either on a blockchain or separately, to offset emissions. 

  • No labels


  1. Hi WG Community, do you think IOT has some role to play in tracking "Personal' carbon offsets ?

    I saw Transportation Emissions project that does the tracking using the mobile apps and is specific to vehicle emission tracking. Just a thought, when you say Carbon tracking do you mean that also includes other Green House Gases like CH4(Methane) etc?

    As per wikipedia, there are several ways to reduce one's greenhouse gas footprint, choosing more energy efficient eating habits, using more energy efficient household appliances, increase usage of fuel efficient cars, and saving electricity.

    Using IOT, the household device energy consumption can be traced and in turn can be used to calculate the carbon footprint per device. And this information can also be recorded in the Fabric ledger to further integrate with vehicle emission that will create a more personal accounting on carbon footprint per house.

    Elaborating upon my thought, using the above diagram, Each device(Device1 & Device2) data can be upstreamed to the blockchain. Same data can be used by an individual to keep an eye on her carbon footprint for each device using an app and save energy by decommissioning the less efficient devices (mostly old). Another use of this data can be in conjunction with the other emissions data for net emission accounting.

    1. Yes, by carbon tracking we mean all greenhouse gases (GHG) including CO2, methane, etc. Measured in their greenhouse contribution in Metric tons of CO2 equivalents (MtCO2e).

      Yes, definitely.  Actually we’ve done so more work on building energy data collection with opentaps SEAS ( which is part of the current demo for utility emissions channel.  My long term idea is to use the blockchain to tie together a network for doing exactly what you’re talking about, and without a central authority.

      1. I would like to be able to rate a product by Carbon Intensity at the point of sale. This could be done with a barcode.

  2. Once you have this data, how do you offset? Would you be interested in looking at a local community currency or token to offset and pay for emissions? It doesn't have to be a regional community, it could be any grouping of people who want to offset with each other. As long as we have some spare capacity to put aside towards paying for our emissions and it is capacity that if of value to someone else. I believe we all have that capacity, and it incentivizes behavior, and can help in managing other ecosystem data points like biodiversity or recycling. It can also be educational, fun and a pilot of something bigger.

  3. Leanne Ussher - I think this would be an interesting idea to explore. I wonder if there are already any existing use cases or pilots that have been created in this area that we could explore? Are you aware of any?  Si Chen - FYI

  4. My broad response is that they are everywhere, often without us realizing. But what most of them lack is the climate accounting to back them up and the ability for the community to manage it themselves, check themselves, automate the point system. Airline frequent flyer miles are the ones we are most familiar with, and now in the world of tokens and blockchain they are becoming more common place. But local currencies have existed for centuries. Even similar situations exist in tax credits, or discounts, vouchers. Si Chenhas already created a few models of how it might work I think connecting with fiat money. But if you have a closed circuit it is far easier to manage within a dedicated community.

  5. Leanne UssherAfter some research I've found that there is a lot of distrust in offsets in general, so I thought an important part of the process is to use the DAO to validate the offsets.  Then a group could pool their purchases of offsets together in offsets that they trust.  This could be done using a blockchain token which functions as a currency. 

    The other issue is how to find consumers who would want to offset their own emissions.  Does anybody have any ideas? (smile)

  6. Si Chenif you look at the local currency literature (which is huge) there are lots of reasons why fiat currency can fail, but a token can work (they do fail too).  I know a lot of people who are like minded and value emissions reduction, who would pay offsets of their emissions, if they were earning an income from the same ecosystem. This could involve a UBI, but that is a waste, better if it was payment for some measurable act - driving below the average speed of the community. So if you create a closed  ecosystem of exchanges where people are earning tokens, from their spare capacity, then they are likely willing to pay offsets, and have offsetting imposed on them. It is all about educating, taking ownership, and changing incentives. I would propose that communities need to develop a praxis of coming together to design such a community, in townhalls, to democratically come to solutions. I think the offset trust problem is partly due to lack of verification, but also partly due to market pricing.  Do you think taxing is more trusted? If so, then that is a ready answer to the question on who would be willing to use such a token - they don't have a choice, everyone agrees to accept a tax. I think a DAO is a great way build governance to do this. But there also needs to be some guidance.

    1. Leanne UssherDo you think you could organize a meeting of the people you know who would be interested in doing this, ie join an ecosystem to pay/earn from emissions reductions?  I would like to hear their perspectives and see if it's something we could develop and scale.

  7. Si Chen Martin Wainstein and Katherine Foster could likely help me foster that community. I think it can tie into some work we are possibly doing together at Open Foundation. I believe that with this community's technological skill set, and the fruition of personal trusted data, implementing this in an interesting way for a community of people to who want to experiment at that mico level, is a way to ultimately scale this either by growing it, or by taking what we learn and showcasing it at the regional or national or international level. 

    1. That would be great.  Could we set up some time to discuss this opportunity with them or the Open Foundation?

  8. Si Chen Do you want to test it out in a small pilot group before we talk to a real community? 

    1. That's a good idea.  What should be the goals of the pilot?  Who would participate in it?

  9. We don't need that many people to make a pilot. Its purpose is a proof of concept that your autonomous accounting technology of carbon emissions is a useful basis to that could incentivize a group of like minded people to share/ cooperate/compete with each other life style choices. The more elastic or sensitive the carbon footprint measure is in relation to personal action, the easier it will be to model and incentivize/penalize. Your group here must already have a whole bunch of actions that can be weighted or measured in terms of their carbon impact. On this website,  there are some suggestions for households: 

    1. Vehicle
    2. Flights
    3. Trains
    4. Fuel Source
    5. My home’s heating system
    6. Oil
    7. Natural Gas
    8. Propane
    9. Other Heating Sources
    10. Electricity Provider
    11. Electric Usage
    12. Recycling
    13. Household Members by Diet Type
    14. Consumption Pattern

    But I know that you all are much more eloquent in making up this list based on what you all are working on. The more autonomous the measure the better, but we work with whatever technology we have. A basket or index is likely easier for everyone to participate in, than a single indicator.    From this tabular index we make a "mutual credit" of carbon offsets - payments to those below the average and fees to those above the average, in proportion to the index. The tails could be scaled if we don't want it to be too onerous. We set the price of tokens to carbon emissions to be fixed. The goal of each member is to bring their balance to zero as quickly as possible. There might be symmetrical penalties on those who don't bring their balance to zero.

    The 2nd part is the spare capacity we each have. What services can we offer to our fellow community members to sell for these tokens, what can we spend them on? e.g. work things we volunteer for we can earn tokens - but it could be anything and would depend on the membership of the pilot group.  Mapping the resources of what we offer or demand, is the really creative part, and it can be tied to collective goals not just individual goals. We need to make a list of that too, but it can be simplified to earning tokens for attending meetings, and a fixed head tax.  Once you have the creation and destruction of money  - sources and sinks - then you need to manage it, governance rules, so that it works to achieve the outcomes, incentivizes behavioral changes in the right direction, is inclusive, is fun, - whatever gets the dopamine going.

    Zip code overhead refers to the carbon impact of public facilities that we all share: schools, houses of worship, offices, retail establishments, train stations, roads, and so on.

      • Data can be aggregated from diverse sources by way of an app.    
      • The Carbon Footprint is 6.7 Tonne CO2e in 2019 for a citizen of the E.U. 
      • Assume the same as a baseline case for the United States. 

      I created two fictional scenarios involving the launch of a 'Bard Card.'  The first scenario assumes that Leanne gets together with five of her friends from College to 

      reduce their personal Carbon Footprint. With a modicum of effort they are able to reduce this personal emission number be 0.5 Tonnes per year or 2.5 T in Aggregate.

      At that point they can surrender their 2.5 Tonnes on the Emission Token Network and put the 2.5 T in five separate wallets. 

      The question is at what price? This is not a trivial question , because the Marginal Cost of Abatement of 1 CO2e by redirecting flue gas from a coal fired power plant in Carbon Capture and Sequestration is 

      quoted as up to $4500. Alternatively, a voluntary reduction unit of 1 CO2e from a tropical rain forest might only cost $1.70. Last, some Carbon Abatement Technologies actually put $70 in the owner's pocket. 

      Bard Card   Leanne is an alumna of Bard College and so are a lot of her friends. She asks the college about a call for help for alumni and students to train 'Agripreneurs in South Africa. 

      Land Title Reform to redress the pain of Apartheid has meant thousands of young, unskilled farmers are the new owners of land subject to a transfer obligation from White farmers. 

      The reality is that little equipment, finance or training is available to help these unskilled folk have a chance to sustain themselves. The lack of anything - vehicles, farm equipment, and training means these

      Agripreneur ventures are failing. 

      Leanne realises that she can help a great deal. She is a subject matter expert on farming and soon connects with several Agripreneurs in Gauteng. A phone app provides basic 

      conversational chatbot Q&A, leaving Leanne to perform the high level tasks. She soon discovers that fertilizer has a higher Global Warming Potential than CO2. 

      She finds a new 'green' fertilizer that actually increases yields on crops whilst reducing Ammonias and other GHG emissions. The Bard Card is a success!

      Scenario 1
      5 friends reduce 0.5 Tonne-2.5
      Spare Time helping Agripreneur-20,000
      Fertilizer, Crop Yield GDP effect -500,000

      Bard Card 2 is the baseline case for Leanne and her friends who decide to reduce their Carbon Footprint. The strategy is to market the Bard Card to Skidmore, Vassar, Smith, and 50 other liberal arts schools in 

      the North East USA.  Each College has 2000 students, so assume 50% sign up for the bard Card. The results are not as exciting as the Bard Card in scenario 1, but solid nonetheless. 

      Scenario 2
      5 friends reduce 1 Tonne CO2e-5.0
      Scale to College -1000
      Scale to Ecosystem -50,000

      These scenarios are meant to be fictional but it is the choice of offsetting which is key in my opinion. Whatever happens, the Bard Card will be a success

      because everybody loves Steely Dan. 

      1. Peter Clarke these are interesting scenarios. I need to understand better the incentive structure and what we face and what we do with our points. What we can do with our points will help us to set the price of carbon. 

          • Leanne Ussher   Thank you for reminding me of time banking. 
          • The incentive program that we decided to go with starts with the creation of a Labour Exchange. This concept of community matching needs with skills has its modern roots in Time Banking such as the Ithaca Hour and Ithaca Dollar or the local community currencies in the UK in specific towns or communities.   
          • Compensation starts with College Students volunteering one unit of time to train conversational virtual agents in skills needed by African framers. So, a unit of 1 hour would be worth $20 and this labour can be tokenized as described in Step 2:
          • Step 3 describes the deployment of the virtual agent to the farmer. A conversational agent can comfortably do the required work of 6 people. So, if the student has trained the virtual agent correctly then the value of the student's time will eventually treble to $60 per hour, serving three farmers at once. The problem is that the farmer can no longer afford the $20 because of local currency devaluation.  Or so we thought. 
          • The Farmers knew of a way to substitute a degradable plastic cup for a non degradable one. 
          • Let me repeat the steps.  
          • Group 1 are college students currently on break for the summer. They return to College in the fall.  16 of them. In turn, they are training 'influences' to act as ambassadors to Cornell, Skidmore, Amherst, etc.
          • Group 2 are farmers in Eastern Africa with limited skills. Like many farmers in the EAC they are young and entrepreneurial. Because of distances, sometimes they all plant the same crop, usually mangos. They speak Swahili, with some pigeon English.  Fortunately, the college kids who were 'training' conversational bots in the USA did a good job. Yields are up 20% on very thin data. 
          • September: Group A goes on a guerilla marketing campaign. Products are a. Bio degradable Solo cups used, I am told, in Beer Pong. b. Cool caps and similar items which cost $30. $5 goes to help an African farmer. 
          • September  Group B:  A sponsor has provided a supply of unlimited low end smart phones. The farmers are learning bookkeeping using an app that can translate from English to Swahili. 700 of them are teaching people in their area where to look for plastic bottles and where to take them for money. The farmers were also the ones who taught the college kids about plastics. 
          • The result will be good for all involved, though not a complete win win. The Group 1 kids are doing right by the environment by taking plastic out of the supply chain. However, they are not getting any kind of Carbon or GHG credit because of "Additionality."  However, they do not care because they are making money on the degradable cups. Meanwhile, the farmers are getting paid for turning in plastic through a community programme sponsored by Unilever in Tanzania. 
          • There are many flaws with the business model but none of them relate to CO2. Why would you set up a token network in CO2?  

          STEP ONE                                                                                    

          Hours Worked 16
          Labor Value$20

           STEP TWO - End Product is 6 trained virtual agents 

          Student 1 16*$20 = $320
          Student   216*$20  =  $320

          Output Student 1$320 0r 3 Virtual Agents
          Output Student 2$320 or 3 Virtual Agents

          STEP THREE

          Student 1
          Virtual Agent 1$320
          Virtual Agent 2$320
          Virtual Agent 3$320

          *Ithaca Hours

          Farmer 1($320)
          Farmer 2($320)
          Farmer 3($320)

  10. Leanne Ussher thank you so much for your presentation today that shows us about How buying decision for various oranges can help the climate change and also proposing many ways to compensate for the extra emissions either personally or at the government level. So you have mentioned that there is an app that has been developed for this. Is that app code also open source and available for this community to review and potentially add more commits to it?

    Can we use your app to integrate with the existing carbon accounting network to store and retrieve offsets off of? Also, potentailly I think there can be many other factors integrated to this app for giving an holisitc view about ones emissions and we can provide nudges to compensate for those emissions. Do you think it will be aligned to the goals that you have in mind?

  11. Vatsal Mishra yesterday in my impromptu presentation I was giving you a flavor of what we (some academics from ASU, Simon's Rock Bard, and BRAC Bangladesh) WANT to create as a class starting next year - Spring 2021 at the earliest. This is all just on the drawing board. We do not have an app. But as you know there are many different carbon tracking apps, and there are many different apps available for local currencies, (e.g. open source one is But of course one goal is to encourage blockchains to take up this sort of carbon tracking app.  Our goal is to have students create a simple app utilizing a central database - and contemplate how to promote the crowdsourcing of the data. Our accounting will be in accordance with the SEEA and EW-MFA so that we can consider scaling this, Our idea is to start with the classroom, and then have students become ambassadors to hold workshops in the community on how to measure an entities carbon footprint. We want to tie program into the work done by the Global Climate Accounting initiatives and the Open Earth Foundation. d

    We will use the local currency methodology to incentive behavior and reward entity action to reduce their carbon footprint. This would require that local communities get involved, and allow these tokens to be spent locally at stores and other member institutions. Hence, such tokens could facilitate the movement by local municipalities to become netzero by 2050. The goal is to create polycentric governance structures, and utilize climate accounting to make democratic decisions from the bottom up.

    All this obviously fits with what you all are doing here at Hyperledger and I hope that we can collaborate in some manner. So we don't have an app. What I showed you was how one could do this using Mathematica and I think it could work as the back end. The data will be open regardless.  Mathematic can read nutrition in goods  and I want to do this for carbon - but could be much broader - all material flows.

    Our focus is on creating a proof of concept, create a small dataset, do some research on carbon emissions for different products, and just start working on creating a template that we could then open for all to add to - improving the dataset step by step. We would pretty much let the students decide for themselves what sort of indicators they wanted to focus on etc. And we would have to work out a methodology on how to estimate carbon emissions. I'm hoping HoloREA will have the accounting that might do this.

  12. Thanks for your brief response and sharing your ideas and proof of concept with us. I understand since it is for your next year academic class, we don't want to spoil it and let it be as an acedemic exercise for the next year. Again, your ideas have opened lots of possibilities into how we can take it to the personal level.

  13. @Vatsal I am eager to collaborate and help build whatever you guys are working on in this regard, and would like to help where I can. I'm talking with some HoloREA folk as I imagine that REA is the right accounting methodology.

  14. any updates on the project?

  15. Hi Kentaro Vadney unfortunately I had to leave Bard and am otherwise engaged in other things - like the family dairy farm. Perhaps this is still something I can do in my community. In effect farmers in my area are issuing a milk backed token -  farmer IOUs that are convertible into milk. Only our milk processor company is using them, but it would be cool if the rest of the community wanted to use them, and if they were in the process tracking carbon in terms of their purchases. Just a thought. Need interested parties to fund such a project though.

    1. Leanne Ussher Thank you for the reply! I'm currently focusing on making emissions tokens integrations only to do one thing at a time, but this could be an interesting future project (smile)