Countless times we have heard of the term “carbon footprint”. Perhaps we have seen and heard it on TV or read it in newspapers, magazines and published articles. Indeed, it has been an expression familiar to everyone as it is always associated with climate change, carbon emissions, global warming, pollution and other environmental issues. Carbon footprint is real. It exists and, in fact, continues to affect the world we live in.
Defining Carbon Footprint
Two essential words comprise the term carbon footprint. Fundamentally, “carbon” means the carbon dioxide circulating in the atmosphere. It is also the general word used for other greenhouse gasses emitted into the air. On the other note, “footprint” refers to impact or effect.
Think about the footprints people leave on the beach sand upon walking on the shore. That is exactly what carbon footprint is like. It’s about the impact humans leave on the earth in the form of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Calculating Your Personal Carbon Footprint
The food we eat, products we use, vehicles we ride on and electricity we consume emit carbon dioxide. In fact, our activities, lifestyle, homes, and countries contribute to climate change. And carbon footprint is the best estimate we can get of the full impact our doings affect the earth. It quantifies the amount of our carbon emission. With this, knowing how to calculate your personal carbon footprint is important.
There are various standards in calculating one’s carbon footprint. There is the so-called “lifestyle assessment” and the input-output analysis. Lifestyle assessment works by adding up all the feasible emission pathways while the input-output analysis involves determining the total emissions of a particular country, dividing it by the carbon-emitting sectors and estimating the overall emissions of each sector. The input-output analysis makes sure that no emission pathway is missed out.
Calculating your carbon footprint manually is an effective way for you to understand your emissions better. You just need a lot of patience to learn how each footprint is generated. Moreover, there are also several resources online that can help you calculate your carbon footprint. Online carbon calculators are abundant across the web. To make your life simpler, you can opt to try those online calculators and easily determine your carbon emissions. However, such calculators vary in scope. So make sure that the online carbon calculator, you choose, is one that includes emissions both direct and indirect.
Avoiding Toe Prints
A toe print is a portion of a footprint. Sometimes, people are misled in their calculations because they only get a carbon toe print instead of a footprint. The idea is that, you should cover a smart scope of your carbon emissions. Not only measuring a portion, but the whole.
Say for example, running a conventional car. The carbon emitted from the car is not only the fuel combustion from the diesel or petrol. Likewise, the carbon released as the gas was processed and transported to your nearby gasoline station is also an addition to your carbon footprint. If you do not understand this, you will end up calculating your direct emissions while neglecting the indirect ones.
Be wise in calculating your carbon footprint. And when in doubt, whether you are an individual or a business entity, you should seek help from experts who can do it right.