June 25, 2015 7:26 AM EDT

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

In pounds of CO[subscript 2] per year, based on U.S. averages

10,959 Driving a car

The average American drives 13,476 miles (21,688 km) per year

Americans tend to have three cups a day

50.6

Drinking coffee

Some 90% of all U.S. homes have an air conditioner

1,904

Running the air conditioner

2,000

Using the refrigerator

1,579

Turning on the lights

2,204

Flying in a plane

412.7

Having a beer

Most of the carbon footprint of beer comes from the ingredients, electricity and transportation

3,578

Eating meat

The average American eats 195 lb. (88 kg) of meat year

2.5

Reading the newspaper

It would take about 40 trees to make a lifetime of newspapers for each U.S. citizen

379

Running the dishwasher, based on the average American family’s two loads per week

227

Running the dryer, one load per week on average

297.6

Answering email

THE COUNTRIES EMITTING THE MOST CARBON

In thousands of metric tons per year

2.5 million

0

0.5

1

1.5

2

CHINA

U.S.

INDIA

RUSSIA

JAPAN

GERMANY

SOUTH KOREA

IRAN

INDONESIA

SAUDI ARABIA

WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

RECYCLING just some of your waste reduces emissions by 440 lb./year

COMPOSTING some of your food waste reduces emissions by 220 lb./year

USING A DRYING RACK instead of a dryer for half your loads would save 113 lb./year

REPLACING beef and pork in your diet with poultry would save 1,555 lb./year

TURNING YOUR HEATER DOWN by 8°F (4°C) while you sleep and are at work would save 1,759 lb./year

SOURCES: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC; THE GUARDIAN; CARBON DIOXIDE INFORMATION ANALYSIS CENTER

This appears in the July 06, 2015 issue of TIME.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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