What’s carbon footprint and what does it do


Somehow I’ve made it this far without having an understanding lol

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Carbon footprint is how much carbon (dioxide and monoxide and other carbon elements) *something* is putting out in exchange for being used. So the carbon footprint of a town that uses a coal power plant is going to be higher than a town of the same population that relies on solar and wind power, because coal power actively puts out carbon dioxide/monoxide/other greenhouse gases as it burns while a solar or wind power technology only puts out carbon dioxide when they are collecting the materials, assembling them and then shipping them to the final destination.

Annual greenhouse-gas emissions per capita. For instance, the USA emits almost 6 billion tonnes; divide by 330 million people, and the average American is responsible for almost 20 tonnes of emissions, directly and indirectly.


You can cut it finer if you know more about a particular person. How many gallons of gas consumed per year? How many miles flown? How much electricity, and how much coal and natural gas in the mix of sources? Etc.

Carbon footprint just means how much CO/CO2 something generates.

If you want to know the carbon footprint of your car, put a balloon on your tailpipe, drive around a bit. Stop, take the balloon and count how much CO2 is in there. That is the carbon footprint in laymans terms.

Its not completely fair though, because you want to calculate some other things in the footprint as well.


The reason we want to know carbon footprint is because we have too much of it in the atmosphere and are actively trying to reduce it. For that to work, you have to do some bookkeeping of the CO2 that we put in the atmosphere and that we take out. To simplify that bookkeeping, we’ve created the carbon footprint concept.

The term refers to the amount of carbon any one thing, you for example, puts into the system by existing or operating.
Think about all the paper cups you’ve ever thrown away and where they ended up. That’s your carbon contribution, or footprint, impacting the environment.