A carbon footprint corresponds to the whole amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced to, directly and indirectly, support a person’s lifestyle and activities. Carbon footprints are usually measured in equivalent tons of CO2, during the period of a year, and they can be associated with an individual, an organization, a product or an event, among others. The GHGs whose sum results in a carbon footprint can come from the production and consumption of fossil fuels, food, manufactured goods, materials, roads or transportation. And despite its importance, carbon footprints are difficult to calculate exactly due to poor knowledge and short data regarding the complex interactions between contributing processes – including the influence of natural processes that store or release carbon dioxide.
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases—primarily carbon dioxide—released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity. A carbon footprint can be a broad measure or be applied to the actions of an individual, a family, an event, an organization, or even an entire nation. It is usually measured as tons of CO2 emitted per year, a number that can be supplemented by tons of CO2-equivalent gases, including methane, nitrous oxide, and other greenhouse gases.
Methods of reducing your carbon footprint include driving more-efficient vehicles (or making sure that your current vehicles are properly maintained), taking public transportation, using energy-efficient appliances, insulating your home to reduce heating and air conditioning costs, consuming food that doesn’t require as much transportation, and eating less meat, which has a higher carbon footprint than fruits and vegetables. Individuals and companies can also offset some of their CO2 emissions by purchasing carbon credits, the money from which can go into projects such as planting trees or investing in renewable energy.
Its footprint or foorprint