What is a Carbon Footprint and why is its reduction all the rage today?

Updated: Apr 9

Written by Anushka Negi | Header image : nytimes.com


Our daily activities play an integral role in contributing to the already growing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere. Carbon footprint measures the very amount of these GHG emissions, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2 ), emitted by industry, an organization, vehicles, etc. and in essence, GHG emissions involved in the entire supply chain of any product. It is expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent i.e. the amount of CO2 that will warm the planet by the same amount as that gas.

Other gases which enable the trapping of heat are nitrous oxide, methane and fluorinated gases. Activities as simple as driving a car, consuming certain types of foods and using air conditioning systems at home, contribute to the usage of electricity which is primarily sourced by the burning of fossil fuels that emits carbon dioxide. Phenomena like Climate Change and Global Warming are the effects of increasing carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. Larger carbon footprints imply greater GHG emissions that spur climate change. The Paris Agreement came into place in the year 2015 with the support of 196 parties and follows the UN Convention Framework on Climate Change. The main aim is to enforce strict actions fighting climate change, to keep the global temperature increase below 2℃ relative to pre-industrial level while striving to limit it to 1.5℃. All countries are required to showcase their efforts through the NDCs or Nationally Determined Contributions. The foremost requirement is the reduction in GHG emissions. The agreement is, undoubtedly, one of the most remarkable steps taken in the battle against climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic brought our otherwise busy lives to a halt. GHG emissions were at their lowest which resulted in clearer, bluer skies. One could feel and breathe the fresh air without suffocation. Water bodies looked cleaner than ever. But now that the lockdown is over, how can we ensure the sustained reduction of these emissions? We definitely cannot pursue a lockdown lasting forever. It is thus time to implement the right climate-related policies immediately. The government should learn lessons from the virus outbreak and work on devising strategies for the growing problem of pollution as well as climate change and build climate-resilient cities in India. This is an opportunity to re-grow into a new system and not revert to the older one.

The blue skies are telling us that it is our last opportunity to save the environment and repair all the damage we have caused over the years. Thus, the need of the hour is that all individuals come together and engage in small practices and lifestyle changes that can help reduce our carbon footprints. Today, carbon footprint calculators are largely available online on various platforms to give one an idea of their daily carbon consumption. Check out the carbon footprint calculator on our website, and learn how much of an impact you are making on the environment and how you could mitigate the same. Some ways in which one could reduce their carbon footprint are as follows:

  1. Recycle as much as you can. Turn a milk carton into a garden scooper or decorate those glass or even plastic bottles.

  2. Carpool to work or shopping.

  3. Switch to energy-efficient appliances for daily use. Check their BEE star rating which shows how much electricity they consume in a year.

  4. Reduce your meat intake

  5. Do not indulge in fast fashion. Switch to sustainable fashion or even thrift shopping. You can also mix and match your old clothes, try to do something funky like painting some prints or sewing on them, instead of buying new ones. Keeping the same clothes is one of the best things one can do to reduce their carbon footprint. How cool is that

  6. Use LED bulbs rather than CFL lamps as they use a quarter of the energy and last 25 times longer.

  7. Indulge in practices of reducing travel or at least try to avoid air travel. Flights produced 815 million tonnes of carbon dioxide solely in the year 2016. The same is likely to double by 2050.

  8. Support projects which work towards climate mitigation activities. For instance, adopt a tree or a coral reef.

  9. Start segregating your household waste into wet and dry waste and composting the organic waste. Carbon footprints have a harmful and negative impact on our already depreciating environment including the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we live on. As citizens, we can indulge in some, if not all the above-mentioned activities to bring about potential change and save our planet from further damage. So, are you all set to reduce your carbon footprint? Because we are.

Be the change to see the change. One step at a time!


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