We hear this phrase more and more often these day, what does carbon footprint actually mean? The carbon footprint has been defined as “the total sets of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person”. If you’re now wondering what greenhouse gas is, you should know it refers to the gas in the atmosphere that has the capacity to absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.
These play a great role in keeping the planet’s temperature within a safe range for us. Without them, the Earth would be a lot less life-friendly, with negative temperatures. When referring to carbon footprint, many people believe it’s all about CO2 emissions since CO2 is the most obvious one. However, the other gases are also included the carbon footprint measurements, even though carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main one.
Greenhouse gases are mostly emitted through transport systems, land clearance and consumption of fuels but emission is not limited to that. Basically, almost everything we do produces greenhouse gasses – driving the car to work every morning, the processes of creating and packaging our food, furniture or clothes and so on. Even your house has its own carbon footprint, since it requires heating. Ever since industrialization took place, resources have been consumed at faster and higher levels. The usage of fuels combined with massive deforestation has led to a great amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The effects are not positive, and it affects us all, including the marine system.
The total carbon footprint of the planet cannot be easily determined, as it requires a huge amount of data. Besides, there are natural processes that can lead to the release of greenhouse gases as well. However, there are ways for businesses, as well as individuals, to measure their carbon footprint and there are also ways to improve it. Being aware of the carbon footprint and trying to reduce is translates into being considerate and thoughtful towards the future generations.
There are different tools online that you can access to help you determine your carbon footprint. If you are an individual, you can use an online carbon footprint calculator. Many people are shocked to see the great amount of CO2 their activities produce, directly or indirectly. If you have a business and want to keep the carbon footprint under control, there are specific calculators and software that allow you to get an idea regarding the carbon footprint of your business.
For a medium and long term positive outcome, the CO2 emissions should be kept under 2 tons per person per year. The main negative effect of the CO2 emission is global warming, which can seriously affect the natural balance of the planet, causing natural disasters and more. This is why being aware of your carbon footprint and all the possible ways to keep it under control is so important.
This post was supplied by Mark Stubbles, Mark writes for Interact. Interact help companies large and small to reduce the carbon footprint with video conferencing and other thypes of communication technology.