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A carbon footprint is a measure of the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organization, event or product. It is not so much a "footprint" as a metaphor for human impact on the atmosphere in terms of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by human activities. (Note that while the term itself only refers to carbon, it is a measure of all the greenhouse gases.)

Sources of greenhouse gas from human activities[edit | edit source]

Numerous human activities do, or have to the potential to, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Major sources include land clearance (and habitat destruction), transportation, energy production and usage, agriculture, manufacturing and construction.

Origins of the concept of footprint as a measure[edit | edit source]

Carbon footprint is a term borrowed from the ecological footprint measure developed by Rees and Wackernagel.

Measuring carbon footprints[edit | edit source]

Measuring a carbon footprint begins with making an inventory. The scope of the inventory is dependent on the context of what and who is being measured but you can find accounting standards created by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the the World Resources Institute that form the basis of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This Protocol is used internationally to quantify greenhouse gases and to recommend ways to manage the emissions.

In the United States, the non-profit The Climate Registry created its own protocol.

How to reduce your carbon footprint[edit | edit source]

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Long-gone are the days where we could believe that changing a light bulb or separating trash would suffice. Global warming and climate change are not only increasing, but accelerating. Now, it could be argued that ceasing to live is the ultimate way to reduce your carbon footprint. Short of that, here are the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, in no particular order (the top ones will depend on your current lifestyle).

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Page data
Keywords energy efficiency, greenhouse gases, emissions, green living
SDG Sustainable Development Goals SDG13 Climate action
Authors Felicity, Teratornis
Published 2012
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
Impact Number of views to this page and its redirects. Updated once a month. Views by admins and bots are not counted. Multiple views during the same session are counted as one. 350
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