We all must understand the concept of Carbon footprint and how we are contributing to it.
WHAT IS CARBON FOOTPRINT?
This term is defined as the whole amount of greenhouse gases that are being released into the environment. Greenhouse gases include methane and carbon dioxide.
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CAUSES OF CARBON FOOTPRINT
Anthropogenic activities are responsible for increasing the global carbon footprint. Common causes of carbon footprint include fossil fuel combustion in transportation, power plants, food waste, agriculture, domestic energy consumption, land-use changes, livestock production, urbanization, waste generation, etc.
FACTS ABOUT CARBON FOOTPRINT
- The renowned companies in the world are responsible for the world’s third carbon emissions. Check out Top Companies Contributing to World’s Third Carbon Emission
- The richest countries are also known as developed countries are releasing the highest amount of carbon into the environment.
- Food waste generated by rich countries is also increasing the global carbon footprint. Check out Top 15 Countries with Highest Percentage of Food Waste
- All individual in a family or organization is contributing to the carbon footprint.
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IMPORTANCE OF CARBON FOOTPRINT
Carbon footprint is an integral part of the ecological footprint. Human activities have disturbed ecological footprint by increasing carbon footprint. The ecological footprint is the requirement of natural resources by each individual living in an area.
The carbon footprint has its importance in the environment only when it is not accumulating in an amount greater than its sequestration. Carbon is an essential component of elements, molecules, building structures, etc. Forests and oceans are carbon sinks.
Plants need carbon for energy and growth. Since industrialization, the carbon release in the air is increasing leading to increasing global carbon emissions and carbon footprint. Deforestation is releasing stored carbon back to the environment. Ocean acidification is not letting the ocean store more carbon. Industries are kept releasing carbon into the air.
All these factors are causing the accumulation of carbon in the environment and hence leading to the rising surface temperature of the Earth called global warming and eventually climate change.
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HOW CAN YOU CALCULATE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT?
Individual-level carbon footprint is dependent on three ingredients that include personal choices, ecological habitat, and a particular area.
There are online carbon footprint calculators that would assist you in calculating your contribution to the carbon footprint. The online calculator calculates carbon footprint in three sectors that include domestic level waste production, energy consumption, and transportation.
Globally each individual might share 4 ton carbon footprint on average but in order to decrease 2 ° C rise in Earth’s temperature, we all need to reduce the carbon footprint to 2 ton on average.
The residents of the United States are sharing 16 ton carbon footprint on average which is considered to be the highest level of carbon footprint by each individual.
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HOW CAN WE REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINT
If one knows individual level contribution to carbon footprint then it’s possible that a person can reduce his share in global carbon emissions.
1. Avoid Fossil Fuel Combustion: Fossil fuel combustion in transportation is releasing greenhouse gases into the air. Shifting to alternative energy sources such as electric cars could be the solution.
2. Waste to Energy: Waste is also releasing greenhouse gases. The waste-to-energy method will not only reduce waste volume but is a sustainable method to decrease carbon footprint.
3. Alternative Energy Sources: Renewable energy sources such as solar power can help reduce dependence on fossil fuel combustion for energy generation.
4. Recycling: Paper production shares a huge portion of carbon emissions. If we adopt recycling techniques, the overall carbon footprint will be reduced. Read Potential of Growing Recycling Business in Pakistan
5. Personal Habits: One must change his/her personal choices including clothing to reduce carbon footprint. The fashion industry is a major contributor to the increasing carbon footprint.
The increasing carbon emissions due to human activities is leading contributor to climate change, global warming and increased frequency of natural disaster. There is so much we can do at the individual level to reduce our share in carbon emissions. Changing living styles and adopting greenways are essential steps towards sustainability.
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