In layman terms, “footprint” refers to human impact on our planet earth as a result of human activities, demands and choices. Carbon footprint is what we used to call Greehouse Gas emissions and is commonly measured in terms of kilogrammes (Kg) or metric tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) or CO2-e if other Greenhouse gases are included. * scroll down all the way if you are too eager to calculate your carbon footprint and want to skip the big words, I can understand.
The “Footprint Family” consists of ecological footprint, carbon footprint and water footprint, according to a report by open (one planet economy network). The report, entitled Integrating Ecological, Carbon and Water Footprint, seeks to answer the question of “the amount of the biosphere’s regenerative capacity that is directly and indirectly (i.e. embodied in trade) used by humans (namely Ecological Footprint) compared with how much is available (namely biocapacity)”.
The Living Report 2012 prepared by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) quotes, “The Ecological Footprint tracks humanity’s demands on the biosphere by comparing humanity’s consumption against the Earth’s regenerative capacity, or biocapacity. It does this by calculating the area required to produce the resources people consume, the area occupied by infrastructure, and the area of forest required for sequestering CO2 not absorbed by the ocean.”
In this report, carbon footprint is traced as an element of ecological footprint, among other elements such as fishing, forest, grazing, etc. And sometimes, to express one’s ecological footprint in an easily understood manner, we may say how many planet earth is required to sustain one’s lifestyle if everyone in the world lives the same kind of life as this person does.
Yes of course the ideal number of planet earth required is one, we were there around 1970. In the year 2008, we reached 1.5 planet earths. When I say “we”, I mean global average, hence I may have “overshot” by more than or less than 1.5 planet earths, depending on key factors like my lifestyle and geographical location.
The National University of Singapore’s Office of Environmental Sustainability has created a simple carbon footprint calculator that factors in one’s country of dwelling, which adds credibility to the result. I find the calculator very useful in estimating one’s carbon footprint, it is user-friendly and sufficient to give a sensible idea of the burden one exerts on our planet earth. Go calculate your carbon footprint here!
Here are my statistics for the year between 1st September 2011 and 31 August 2012:
I live in Singapore.
My carbon footprint: 7.36 metric tonnes of CO2
Average for people in Singapore: 12.20 metric tonnes per year
Average for industrial nations: about 11 metric tonnes per year
* hold your compliments for me till you see the TARGET.
Worldwide average: about 4 metric tonnes per year
Worldwide TARGET to combat climate change: 2 metric tonnes