The carbon footprint or ecological footprint is the amount of emissions, of greenhouse gases (GHG), that we emit into the atmosphere as a result of our daily habits and activities and is expressed in tons of CO2 emitted.
These are the keys to better understand what the carbon footprint is and how to reverse it:
- What are greenhouse gases (GHG)? They are those whose presence in the atmosphere contributes to increasing the greenhouse effect and, with it, to global warming. Climate change has already become an emergency for the health of the planet and the living beings that inhabit it.
- What is the importance of the carbon footprint? We must not forget that the Earth, unique and irreplaceable, is being hit hard by the individual and collective actions of human beings. The carbon footprint, as an environmental and sustainability indicator, has become a tool to raise awareness among citizens and companies about the importance of the problem of climate change and the need to urgently reduce it.
- How do we know what our carbon footprint is? Every human being that lives on the planet leaves our own carbon footprint based on the food we eat, how we do our daily purchases, what energy we consume, or what means of transport we use … a harmful trail that we must learn to reverse.
- How to calculate the ecological footprint? To find out what carbon footprint a product leaves, all the processes of its life cycle are analyzed. That is to say, what it implies to obtain the raw materials for their subsequent manufacture, the transport used to reach the user, their use once acquired, and finally their management as waste.
- Can it be calculated exactly? Yes. There are carbon footprint “calculators” that, through simple applications, are responsible for assessing our habits in terms of energy consumption. These “calculators” will measure from the consumption that we make in our home through the use of electrical appliances (if we leave the lights on, for example), the impact of our daily means of transport (how much our car consumes or how many kilometers we travel), to our consumption habits (if we consume organic food) or waste management (if we recycle correctly).
- Why is it important to measure it? The measurement of the carbon footprint allows organizations and individuals to know their real status and implement strategies that are in their hands to reduce it.
- How can people reduce their carbon footprint? There are many simple actions that can be applied in every home to reduce the carbon footprint. Among those activities are: walking or cycling instead of driving, avoiding air travel, recycling and reusing products, planting endemic trees, using renewable energy, and choosing to consume local products.
- What mechanisms have been implemented to reduce emissions globally? At the international level, the Kyoto Protocol has been implemented, whose market defines the GHG emission reduction objectives of the adhering countries, establishing some commitments for this purpose. Mechanisms have also been proposed that allow them to fulfill their commitments, such as the implementation of the Carbon Market.
- What is the Carbon Market? Carbon credits or CERs are an international mechanism proposed in the Kyoto Protocol of 2005 to reduce polluting emissions to the environment. By paying these bonds, the companies that acquire them have the right to generate emissions, considering these as a exchangeable type good. Carbon credits allow you to acquire a Certificate of Reduced Emissions (CER). Thus, a CER would be equivalent in the carbon credit market to one ton of carbon dioxide that we save the planet.
- Is it possible to neutralize the carbon footprint individually? Despite the fact that it is impossible to stop emitting GHGs due to daily human activity, the ecological footprint can be offset, how? Through Save The Planet Now compensation cards. The money allocated to these cards will be used in sustainable projects with the environment.