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A definition of 'CARBON FOOTPRINT:

"The carbon footprint is a measure of the exclusive total amount of carbon dioxide emissions that is directly and indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product." This includes activities of individuals, population, governments, companies, organisations, processes, industry sectors etc. Products include goods and services. In any case, all direct (on-site, internal) and indirect emissions (off-site, external, embodied, upstream, and downstream) need to be taken into account. The definition provides some answers to the questions posed at the beginning. We include only carbon dioxide in the analysis, being well aware that there are other substances with greenhouse warming potential. However, many of those are either not based on carbon or are more difficult to quantify because of data availability. Carbon gases can be emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services. For simplicity of reporting, it is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide. Most of the carbon footprint emissions for buildings come from "indirect" sources, i.e. fuel burned to produce goods far away from the final consumer. These are distinguished from emissions which come from burning fuel directly, commonly referred to as "direct" sources of the consumer's carbon footprint. The concept name of the carbon footprint originates from ecological footprint, discussion, which was developed by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel in the 1990s which estimates the number of "earths" that would theoretically be required if everyone on the planet consumed resources at the same level as the person calculating their ecological footprint. However, carbon footprints are much specific than ecological footprints since they measure direct emissions of gasses that cause climate change into the atmosphere. The main influences on carbon footprints include population, economic output, and energy and carbon intensity of the economy. These factors are the main targets of individuals and businesses in order to decrease carbon footprints. Scholars suggest the most effective way to decrease a carbon footprint is to either decrease the amount of energy needed for production or to decrease the dependence on carbon emitting fuels.

Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference. It is used in the context of carbon dioxide releasing processes, associated with transportation, energy production and industrial processes. The carbon neutral concept may be extended to include other greenhouse gases (GHG) measured in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalencethe impact a GHG has on the atmosphere expressed in the equivalent amount of CO2.

A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the mass of another greenhouse gas with a carbon dioxide equivalent equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide. Carbon credits and carbon markets are a component of national and international attempts to mitigate the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs). One carbon credit is equal to one metric tonne of carbon dioxide, or in some markets, carbon dioxide equivalent gases. Carbon trading is an application of an emissions trading approach. Greenhouse gas emissions are capped and then markets are used to allocate the emissions among the group of regulated sources. CARBON OFFSET: A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere. Carbon offsets are measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) and may represent six primary categories of greenhouse gases.[5] The categories include: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), per fluorocarbons (PFCs), hydro [6] fluorocarbons (HFCs), and sulphur (SF6). One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.


One of the strongest arguments for reducing carbon gases emissions is that it will often save money. Energy prices across the world are rising, making it harder to afford to travel, heat and light homes and factories, and keep a modern economy ticking over. So it is both common sense and sensible for the climate to use energy as sparingly as possible. Examples of possible actions to reduce carbon gases emissions are:

Limiting energy usage and emissions from transportation (walking, using bicycles or public transport, avoiding flying, using low-energy vehicles), as well as from buildings, equipment, animals and processes. Obtaining electricity and other energy from a renewable energy source, either directly by generating it (installing solar panels on the roof for example) or by selecting an approved green energy provider, and by using low-carbon alternative fuels such as sustainable biofuels.