Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is a measure of greenhouse gas emissions Greenhouse Gas (GHG) EmissionsGases that trap infrared rays in the atmosphere, contributing to global heating. Examples include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous…Read on اقرأ المزيد (usually expressed in tons of CO2) produced by an activity or entity. The concept has been popularized and promoted successfully by the oil industry to frame climate change as an issue of personal choice rather than structural solutions.

Carbon footprint estimates are typically given for products, activities, individuals, and households, but may also be applied on scales such as sectors and communities.

Origins and development of the term carbon footprint

Experts have pointed out that it was big oil companies who coined “carbon footprint” as a buzzword in the first place. Through a very successful, “viral” PR effort, they have managed to divert attention and avoid accountability for causing and escalating the climate crisis Climate CrisisThe current moment where we are observing increasingly severe climate impacts and running the risk of catastrophic, irreversible changes in…Read on اقرأ المزيد .

In 2005, BP launched an ad campaign asking people on the street “what size is your footprint?”. BP also defined the term as “the amount of carbon dioxide emitted due to your daily activities – from washing a load of laundry to driving a carload of kids to school.”

There are several carbon footprint calculators online, often accompanied by recommendations to individuals, such as taking public transportation, consuming less, or offsetting OffsettingCompensating carbon dioxide/ greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in a certain place by removing equal amounts of emissions from…Read on اقرأ المزيد .

Why reducing carbon footprint is not the solution

While carbon footprints have contributed to an understanding of the high emissions impacts of certain activities such as flying, the term does more to make people feel guilty for contributing to climate change, rather than empowering them to change society’s fossil fuel addiction or escape fossil lock-in Fossil Lock-InWhen big investments, for example in infrastructures such as power plants or pipelines, create dependencies that result in difficulties to…Read on اقرأ المزيد . Carbon footprints also obscure that the scale of climate change is beyond the scope of individual efforts.

At the same time, the largest 100 fossil fuel extraction companies (called “carbon majors”) which are responsible for 52% of total global GHG emissions since the start of the industrial revolution, and 71% of emissions since 1988 continue to earn money in spite of the loss and damage Loss and DamageLoss and damage refers to the unavoidable impacts of global heating that are beyond countries’ adaptation capabilities, including extreme weather…Read on اقرأ المزيد created by their product.  The carbon footprint framing has helped shift the blame from these companies onto “consumers” and kept more structural real solutions, such as a swift energy transformation Energy TransformationRefers to the transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy sources, while taking into consideration further changes such as addressing…Read on اقرأ المزيد off the table.

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