carbon footprint

What is the buzz about carbon footprint? The total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service, and everything has one, from the computer you used to find this article to the next meal you eat. Carbon footprints can be calculated in one of two ways. Using a Life Cycle Assessment or it can be restricted to the immediate energy use of fossil fuels. To use your car's carbon footprint as an example: the first method would take into account all carbon emissions required to build the car (including all the metal, plastic, glass and other materials), drive the car and dispose of the car; the second would account only for the fossil fuels that resulted from building, driving and disposing of it. Everything has a carbon footprint, and each can be measured a couple different ways, but it's not just a matter of carbon dioxide, though that is the most common of greenhouse gases other than water vapor; other green house gases include methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, sulfur. Most carbon footprint calculations include all applicable gases, as they all contribute to the greenhouse effect and our persistently warming globe.

What is your carbon footprint? Includes energy used to power our homes and transport, including travel by car, airplane, rail and other public transport, as well as all the consumables we use on a regular basis; many of the individual factors above can be calculated separately. Once you understand what goes in to your carbon footprint, and, probably more importantly, what your carbon footprint is, you can start reducing it, as many ways as there are to create a carbon footprint, there are ways to reduce it.

Calculate your own carbon footprint: http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/Your browser may not support display of this image.