A carbon footprint is the measure of the whole amount of CO2 or any other similar greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere by a single human action. Studies say greenhouse gases are responsible for the increase in temperature in the environment, leading to global warming.
However, we can’t reduce the carbon amount in the atmosphere, ultimately, we can calculate the carbon footprint per person and do our best to reduce that amount.
Above all, this is our earth, and it is our responsibility to look out of our mother nature, from such hazards. And that is the intention of writing this article for informing the causes, effects, and solution to the carbon footprint.
Table of Contents
- 1 Causes of Increased Carbon Footprint:
- 2 Carbon Footprint By Countries:
- 3 How Can You Calculate Your Carbon Footprint?
- 4 How Can We Reduce the Carbon Footprint?
Causes of Increased Carbon Footprint:
As discussed before, the Carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon or any other GHG emission. And there is no doubt every year the atmospheric temperature is increasing. From the monitoring, it comes to know that 2018 was 35% hotter than in 1990.
The proper action plan was found that 2019 is 2% less hot than in 2018 in the US. So, to make the right decision for diminishing the carbon footprint in every country, we must understand the causes of GHG, mostly carbon emission, so that the impact of greenhouse gases can further be decreased.
Various reports showing the harmful impact of GHGs, mostly the CO2 on our atmosphere, and the most hazardous effect of it is global warming. Therefore, the question that arises now is what causes the increased carbon footprint, i.e., a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions? The question makes us think deeply, right.
Hence, some of the primary causes of carbon discharge are such as:
- Industrial activities
First and foremost, greenhouse gas emissions (About 22% in 2020) are from the industries. But not alone, all these reasons for the increased carbon footprint are interlinked. That means, if we grab the root of one cause, then the other will be found.
In that way, industrial activities are the result of human demand. The more social needs, the more industries will establish.
For example, most of the processing and manufacturing industries require large quality of energy to operate, which leads to more combustion of fossil fuels and harmful atmospheric GHGs like CO2, N2O, F-gases will increase.
According to the statistics, the businesses like Iron and Steel, Machinery, Paper, pulp and printing, Food and tobacco, aluminum and non-ferrous metal, cement, chemical, coal mining, oil and gas production industries discharge 4%, 1%, 1.1%, 1.0%, 1.2%, 5%, 5%,1.3%, and 6.4% respectively.
For this reason, Production companies should take preventive measures to manufacture goods and services without emitting a large quantity of CO2.
Transportation (cause of 29% GHGs emissions in 2020) is another popular reason for GHGs emissions, which probably known by everyone. It includes all mobility methods we use to transfer goods and products or people from one region to another. Such transport systems include cars or similar vehicles, buses, trains, airplanes, or ships.
Cars release 1,300lbs of CO2 per 1000 miles, and Airplanes emit 1tons of CO2 per 2,062 miles. However, Buses or trains by traveling about 10-20 Km or 7 miles discharge only 1Kg of CO2. The vehicles move on the road take part mostly in the air pollution by the combustion engine, which originates from the poisonous gas Carbon Monoxide (CO).
That doesn’t mean we ought to stop traveling, but we have to control our traveling. If transportation is through renewable energy sources, then than is not a cause of global warming or climate change.
- Waste disposal
As we already discussed, every single trigger is interconnected; waste disposal is another outcome of a growing population. And undoubtedly, wastes are produced from every possible way.
So, mostly domestic and municipal wastes disposed into the landfill, which produces lots of tons of Carbon dioxide and becomes the most critical reason for global warming.
- Commercial and residential causes
Researchers found about 12% of CO2 is released to the environment by domestic and commercial uses such as using laptops, fans, light, stoves, or any other such appliances in 2020. Nowadays, mostly Freezers and air conditioners are used, which produced CFC (Chloro Fluro Carbon) harmful to our ozone layer.
It was found that by running a computer for about 32hours emits 1 Kg CO2. By doing nothing also you are taking part in inducing carbon footprint, which means by breathing. Yes, human exhales about 1Kg of CO2 per day.
For bringing some groceries or veggies or just carrying some water, we use plastic bags and plastic bottles, and you become surprised to know that five plastic bags or two plastic bottles release 1 Kg of carbon dioxide.
- Energy generation
There are a variety of energies we generate or produce to make our life easier, but we mostly need electricity to survive. Like, the three basic things to live, electricity also becomes our most wanted thing.
We need electricity for water supply, cooking food or keeping it cool and also to run lots of electronic appliances like computers, television, mobile phones, etc.
Large industries operate big machinery with electricity. So, we must need it.
Thermal power plants work to generate a large quantity of electricity and mostly through water, by the combustion of coal or petroleum or such fuels, which causes the emission of about 28% CO2 in 2020.
But thankfully now various alternatives to water energy comes which produces zero carbon footprint.
Agriculture is another chief cause of carbon dioxide discharge. A growing population demands an enormous extent of food, which is required as an energy source for the body’s biochemical activity.
Most of the carbon released by agriculture is from livestock production, biomass, soil respiration, cattle belching, rice cultivation, etc. and about 9% cause of GHGs emissions in 2020.
Carbon Footprint By Countries:
There are country-wise reports of carbon footprint, which shows the highest and lowest carbon and other GHGs emission rate per county.
|Continents||CO2 emission in 2017||% of global emission||Total|
|36.2 Billion tones|
Table 1: Data showing the most significant Carbon dioxide emission in tons per countries with continents in 2017
Note: This data is based on a report published in May 2017 and revised in December 2019. Every year the values are varying, and this data is the latest estimation of country-wise CO2 emissions to get an idea which countries are responsible for a high carbon footprint. It will be updated if any new data is available.
|CO2 emission by energy source||Global||People’s Republic of China||United States||India||Russian Federation||Japan|
|Coal||8630 MT CO2||2450 MT CO2||2104 MT CO2||521 MT CO2||414 MT CO2||332 MT CO2|
|Oil||9308 MT CO2||445 MT CO2||2155 MT CO2||225 MT CO2||310 MT CO2||639 MT CO2|
|Natural gas||4211 MT CO2||30 MT CO2||1204 MT CO2||29 MT CO2||679 MT CO2||145 MT CO2|
|Other||84 MT CO2||–||31 MT CO2||–||12 MT CO2||4 MT CO2|
|Coal||12788 MT CO2||5509 MT CO2||2174 MT CO2||838 MT CO2||419 MT CO2||415 MT CO2|
|Oil||10520 MT CO2||847 MT CO2||2238 MT CO2||364 MT CO2||310 MT CO2||560 MT CO2|
|Natural gas||5560 MT CO2||117 MT CO2||1243 MT CO2||59 MT CO2||787 MT CO2||202 MT CO2|
|Other||115 MT CO2||–||32 MT CO2||–||17 MT CO2||9 MT CO2|
|Coal||14502 MT CO2||7444 MT CO2||1324 MT CO2||1507 MT CO2||388 MT CO2||447 MT CO2|
|Oil||11377 MT CO2||1340 MT CO2||1981 MT CO2||579 MT CO2||322 MT CO2||412 MT CO2|
|Natural gas||6743 MT CO2||441 MT CO2||1437 MT CO2||74 MT CO2||796 MT CO2||238 MT CO2|
|Other||218 MT CO2||33 MT CO2||19 MT CO2||1 MT CO2||31 MT CO2||35 MT CO2|
Table 2: Data showing the comparison of CO2 emission in MT from several energy sources between different countries in different years.
“Note: This data is based on the International Energy Agency. You can check here“.
How Can You Calculate Your Carbon Footprint?
Some People always blame their government for not doing anything regarding our environment. But can you imagine, we all take part same way in climate change, environmental pollution, and global warming.
By reading this article, you have already understood how? Well, only through monitoring your work, or your organization’s work and taking some measure can you easily participate in environmental welfare.
So, first of all, you have to keep an eye on your regular transport from home to office or any other place, how much fruit or veggies you’re consuming, how much LPG you are burning during cooking, and to what extent you’re using appliances in your home.
However, each of the above work you do regularly increases your carbon footprint. After being motivated to reduce GHGs emissions, you can calculate your carbon footprint. You can also do your carbon footprint calculation manually, but in every case, you must monitor your usage of household products, electricity, fuel, or other such things.
How Can We Reduce the Carbon Footprint?
There are many ways to reduce carbon footprint, but here we described a few practical solutions.
By reducing home energy use.
- Tons of amount of carbon emission can be decreased only just by reducing energy usage per home.
- You can choose your appliances such as freezer, air conditioner, washing machine or dishwasher, stove, heater, and other such devices running through electricity wisely.
- Replace your traditional electric bulbs with an LED one.
- Switch off light and fan whenever you leave the room and don’t use light or fan unnecessarily.
- If possible, eliminate your primary energy source by solar energy just by installing solar panels.
By reducing transportation
- It’s a personal consideration if you want to buy a new car or such a big vehicle. But if you’re going to contribute something to the environment you live in, you’ll prefer not to buy any such vehicle or buy an Eco-friendly one.
- And if you have a car then try to use it less, only a few times in the week or month when it’s urgent. Otherwise, you can replace its fuel engine with a biofuel.
- Prefer to go to the office or other destination on foot or by a bicycle, it’s both healthy and environment friendly.
- Driving style also matters a lot, don’t speed up unnecessarily; it combusts the fuel more and increases carbon footprint.
- Minimizing your air travel also helps to reduce carbon emission.
By choosing food wisely.
- By choosing food cleverly can also helpful to our ecosystem.
- Eat less processed food; you will be amazed to know the carbon emitted from one American cheeseburger, i.e., 3.1Kg. Higher than using your laptop for 32 hours.
- To replace highly synthetic food with organic, natural fruits, veggies, and locally produced food.
- Cut beef from your diet as cow farming gives lots of risk to the environment, helps in increased carbon footprint, and involve in climate change.
By monitoring water usage
- Install water-efficient fixtures that help to regulate water usage per flush or shower, which ultimately take part in sustainable development and also to reduce global warming.
- Use less energy for washing clothes, cars, or dishes.
By going through zero waste
- Wastes are a significant cause of global warming as they cover the landfill produce methane, which is three times dangerous GHG than carbon dioxide.
- Otherwise, these wastes undergo combustion to produce a large quantity of polluted air, upturn carbon footprint.
- Thus, waste management is critical to reducing such ecological footprint.
- Compost vegetable and fruit peels or such food wastes, or rotten veggies.
- Don’t waste food, cook estimating the quality per person.
- Use 5R’s that are refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, and recycle.
Buying less stuff
- Shop less and reuse or recycle more.
- Use an organic carry bag so that you can use it twice without harming our environment.
- Buy sustainable or Eco-friendly stuff to reduce carbon footprint drastically.
Lastly, don’t blame anyone for climate problems and take preventive measures as much as possible. Therefore, our participation is the only way to save our nature from such harmful gas emission and to reduce the carbon footprint.
In this article, we have covered all those questions of your queries if you still have any doubts feel free to tell us by commenting below. We’ll try to cover that in the next lecture. Till then, stay connected.