What is a "Carbon Footprint"?
A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc. The carbon footprint is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce and has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The pie chart above shows the main elements which make up the total of an typical person's carbon footprint in the developed world.
A carbon footprint is made up of the sum of two parts, the primary footprint (shown by the green slices of the pie chart) and the secondary footprint (shown as the yellow slices).
1. The primary footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. car and plane). We have direct control of these.
2. The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products we use - those associated with their manufacture and eventual breakdown. To put it very simply – the more we buy the more emissions will be caused on our behalf.
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Further definitions of "Carbon footprint" on the Web:
- A form of carbon calculation that measures the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent that a country, a business, an industry or an individual produces or is responsible for. The footprint calculates the direct and indirect level of CO 2 -e emissions. ...
- The estimated emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs associated with a particular activity (eg a plane trip), use of your car, your family’s overall lifestyle, or use of a particular product or service. ...
- A measure of the amount of greenhouse gases emitted because of one’s activities. These can be tracked at global, state, or local levels as well as by companies and individuals. ...
- A measure of an individual's, family's, community's, company's, industry's, product's or service's overall contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It takes into account energy use, transportation methods and other means of emitting carbon. ...
- The total carbon emissions for a given person, organization, building, operation etc. The carbon footprint of an operational office typically include the carbon emitted by the commuting of the office staff. Wikipedia - Carbon footprint
- The amount of greenhouse gas emitted each year through direct (such as driving) and indirect (such as electrical purchases) sources.
- Means (in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) Greenhouse Gas emissions associated with the Sites determined in accordance with the Project Andromeda™ Carbon Footprint Methodology