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What is a carbon footprint and how can you reduce yours?

What is a carbon footprint and how can you reduce yours?
Calculating your carbon footprint and taking steps to reduce it can have a dramatic effect on fighting the climate crisis

Calculating your carbon footprint and taking steps to reduce it can have a dramatic effect on fighting the climate crisis

  1. What is a carbon footprint?

    Your empreinte carbone is how much carbon is released into the atmosphere as a result of your everyday activities. Carbon emissions are what causes climate change by trapping the planet’s heat.

    The higher the carbon footprint, the more waste or greenhouse gases a person, organisation, product or event is creating and contributing to the atmosphere.

    We all generate carbon by driving a car, using energy from suppliers that don’t use renewable sources, owning a gas-fired boiler and cooker, et beaucoup plus.

    The food you eat also has a major impact on your personal carbon footprint. Par example, if you buy produce that has been imported from abroad, the carbon emitted from shipping will add to your footprint.

    Carbon footprint is measured as how many tonnes of carbon dioxide are emitted per year.

  2. How can you measure your carbon footprint?

    There are online calculators that allow you to answer questions about the food you eat, your travel methods, how you heat your home and other aspects of your lifestyle and discover your carbon footprint. This can take the form of a national or global comparison to other people’s carbon footprint.

    Most will then make suggestions on how you can reduce your carbon footprint. Par example, it may suggest reducing or eliminating the amount of meat you eat.

    The WWF has a popular calculator here and the Carbon Trust has a calculator specifically for businesses and organisations here.

  3. What is carbon neutral?

    Carbon neutral means that any CO2 released into the atmosphere from a company or person’s activities is balanced by an equivalent amount being removed.

    Climate positive means that activity goes beyond achieving net-zero carbon emissions to create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    Reducing all greenhouse gases to the point of zero while eliminating all other negative environmental impacts that an organisation may cause is known as climate neutral.

  4. How can you reduce your carbon footprint?

    The food you eat and how you cook it are vital considerations in the fight against climate change. Don’t overfill your kettle, avoid plastic packaging, stop eating meat or reduce the amount you eat (particularly beef), shop local, reduce food waste, and buy less foods that has been imported.

    Use a bike or walk instead of taking the car for short trips and use public transport wherever possible. Air travel is a massive contributor to climate change, so reduce the amount of flights you take, particularly short haul trips or city breaks.

    Use heating controls to minimise your energy use. If you turn the heating off in an empty room it can reduce bills and energy use. Make sure your heating system is operating as efficiently as can be, insulate and draught-proof your home, and use low energy lighting and energy efficient appliances.

    The fashion industry accounts for about 8-10 oer cent of global carbon emissions, et presque 2 per cent of wastewater. The simplest – and cheapest – method of reducing fashion’s environmental impact is to buy fewer clothes, so turn to your existing wardrobe or buy second-hand instead of new.

    Washing your clothes on 30-degree heat saves energy and minimises wear and tear on clothes. Repair clothes instead of throwing them away and avoid cheap and plentiful “fast fashion”.