A ‘carbon footprint’ is a measure of the total set of GHG(Green House Gases) emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organisation, product, activity or group of activities. The most important green house gas produced by anthropogenic activities is CO2 hence got the name “Carbon Fooprint”. Anthropogenic activities include impacts on biophysical environments, biodiversity, and other resources.
To show all emissions in a single number Carbon footprints are measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent or CO2e. The “equivalent” means footprint is made up of a number of different greenhouse gases(CH4, Nox, SOX,CFCs etc.). Usually a carbon footprint is calculated for the time period of a year.
Now the question is Why work out a carbon footprint?
As a result of growing public awareness of global warming.
To identify which activities contribute the most to a footprint (in order to identify the important areas for reduction efforts).
For minimising or reducing the footprints (in order to achieve the target it is necessary to know what current emissions are).
Here are a few suggestions regarding actions that could be taken to reduce emissions . Appropriateness of actions will depend on specific country and social circumstances. Readers will need to determine which actions are applicable to their own environments.
Being energy efficient doesn’t mean going without a warm and well-lit home or making big sacrifices. Many energy efficiency measures are low cost and even save money. Whether on a large-scale, or at the individual level, there are many opportunities to save energy. For ex.
a) Switch off the lights when you don’t need them.
b) Use energy-saving light bulbs.
c)Do not leave appliances on standby. (uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode)
d) Unplug the mobile charger when you are not using it. (It has been estimated that 95% of the energy is wasted when we leave the charger plugged)
e) Conserve household water (by using the purifier water in household chores like cleaning, gardening we can save litres of water per day per person)
f) Reuse your shopping bag
g)Choose products that come with little packaging.
h) Try one of the following ways: cycling, walking, car-pooling, public transport to get to work or school. (On average, for each litre of fuel burnt in a car engine, more than 2.5 kg of CO2 are produced)
i)Don’t speed- because speeding uses more petrol and emits more CO2. (Driving faster than 120 km per hour increases fuel consumption by 30% compared with driving at 80 km per hour.)
j)Avoid short car journeys
k)Switching to low carbon fuels such as solar energy, nuclear power avoiding coal and gas fired power to electricity.
It’s time to act; save the planet Earth