You’ve probably heard about CO2 emissions in relation to climate change before…?
Well, there is a reason for bringing that up over and over… Simply put, CO2 (carbondioxid or “carbon”) is the most common greenhouse gas emitted by humans – with devastating effects on our climate. Therefore, we need to talk about carbon footprints and how to lower them. It’s essential for our planet and all life on earth! And the latter, we believe, is a pretty good reason.
Carbon footprint – the simple definition
What is the definition of carbon footprint? Well, the carbon footprint of a specific activity equals all the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created by that activity, converted into carbon dioxide equivalents. This could for instance be the GHG emissions created from a certain product, an organisation or even an individual. For products, the whole life cycle is taken into account everything from getting the materials, creating the product, shipping, using it and handling the waste. The carbon footprint of an individual is a subject well debated. 70% of all global emissions are due to private consumption and changes on the individual level is therefore of great importance for lowering the global carbon emissions.
When talking about individual change, the carbon footprint is sometimes mixed up with the ecological footprint. Even though the two are closely related (the carbon footprint makes up as much as 60 percent of humanity’s total ecological footprint), the ecological footprint itself consists of other important factors beyond the carbon footprint (water usage, biodiversity impact etc.).
The Paris Agreement – 2 Degree Target
As climate change is not only a problem for the future, but a present one, everyone around the world needs to engage in true climate action. The Paris Agreement made it clear that each country has a responsibility to lower their respective carbon footprint striving to achieve the “well below 2 degrees” target. This means, among other things, working with and implementing a switch to green energy. But policy makers aren’t solely responsible for taking climate action. Other actors in society, including us individuals, share that responsibility.