What is a Carbon Footprint?

What is a carbon footprint?

“Carbon footprint is a horribly abused phrase, so it’s worth spelling out exactly what it means.

When talking about climate change, footprint is a metaphor for the total impact that something has. And carbon is a shorthand for all the different greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

The term carbon footprint, therefore, is a shorthand to describe the best estimate that we can get of the full climate change impact of something. That something could be anything – an activity, an item, a lifestyle, a company, a country or even the whole world.” Mike Berners-Lee & Duncan Clark

CO2e? What’s that?

“Carbon dioxide equivalent = CO2e; is a way of expressing all greenhouse gases as a single number. Man-made climate change, or global warming, is caused by the release of certain types of gas into the atmosphere. The dominant man-made greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), which is emitted whenever we burn fossil fuels in (vehicles), homes, factories or power stations. But other greenhouse gases are also important. Methane (CH4), for example, which is emitted mainly by agriculture and landfill sites, is 25 times more potent per kilogram than CO2. Even more potent but emitted in smaller quantities are nitrous oxide (N2O), which is about 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide and released mainly from industrial processes and farming, and refrigerant gases, which are typically several thousand times more potent than CO2.” Mike Berners-Lee & Duncan Clark

What is my environmental footprint?

Click on the panda to take a quiz to find out!

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Further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/final-uk-greenhouse-gas-emissions-national-statistics
Enquiries: ClimateChange.Statistics@beis.gov.uk
Responsible statistician: Christopher Waite Tel: 020 7215 8285 Media enquiries: 020 7215 1000

Access Downloadable PDF of image here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/863325/2018-final-emissions-statistics-summary.pdf