Carbon Footprint

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carbon footprint

Understanding

your

Carbon Footprint

    

Take our quiz to find out how much carbon you produce.

A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc.

The carbon footprint is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce and has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

In February 2007, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued its latest assessment report on climate change, which concluded that global warming is "unequivocal" and gave the strongest warning yet that it is very likely (> 90%) caused by human activities

The evidence for global warming and climate change includes the following:
Sea temperatures have risen by on average 0.5 degrees C (0.9 degree F) over the last 40 years [Tim Barnett, Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California]

20,000 square kilometers of fresh water ice melted in the Arctic between 1965 and 1995 [Ruth Curry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Connecticut]

Worldwide measurements from tidal gauges indicate that global mean sea level has risen between 10 and 25 cm (18 cm average) during the last 100 years [Warrick et al., 1996]

Global surface temperatures have risen about 0.7°C in the past 100 years [Met Office]
11 of the last 12 years rank amongst the 12 warmest years on record for global temperatures (since 1850) [IPCC, 2007]

Since 1975, the increase of the 5-year mean temperature is about 0.5°C - a rate that is faster than for any previous period of equal length [NASA, 1999]

Average annual temperature in the Arctic has increased by about 1° C over the last century -- a rate that is approximately double that of global average temperatures [IPCC, 1998]

There is widespread evidence that glaciers are retreating in many mountain areas of the world. For example, since 1850 the glaciers of the European Alps have lost about 30 to 40% of their surface area and about half of their volume [Haeberli and Beniston, 1998]

What can we do to reduce our carbon footprint?
These will start to reduce your contribution to global warming. The items in this list will cost you no money at all and will in fact save you money.

  • Recycle as much as possible.
    Turn it off when not in use (lights, television, DVD player, Hi Fi, computer etc. etc. ...) 
  • Turn down the water heating setting (just 2 degrees will make a significant saving)
  • Swap out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat - remember there is no point heating the house after you have left for work
  • Fill your dish washer and washing machine with a full load - this will save you water, electricity, and detergent
  • Use only as much water as you need when cooking
  • Unplug your mobile phone as soon as it has finished charging
  • Defrost your fridge/freezer regularly
  • Do your weekly shopping in a single trip
  • Hang out the washing to dry rather than tumble drying it
  • Go for a run rather than drive to the gym

 Travel less and travel more carbon footprint friendly.

  • Ride share to work.
  • For short trips either walk or bike if possible.
  • When on vacation - rent a bicycle or walk to explore locally rather than by car
  • When staying in a hotel turn the lights and air-conditioning off when you leave your hotel room
  • Ask for your room towels and bed linens to be washed every other day, rather than every day

In addition there is your footprint at work.

  • Turn off your computer and monitor on when you are away from your desk.
  • Turn out the lights on when you leave the office.
  • Don't  print documents unnecessarily.
  • Duplex print when possible.
  • Reuse scrap paper for scratch pads.

     

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