Carbon Footprint

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09 January 2013
Carbon Footprint

Until very recently, most people had never heard of a “carbon footprint.” Now, all of a sudden, the phrase is hard to avoid. In an age of slick slogans, fast fashions and fickle fads it’s easy to assume that this is just another quirky passing gimmick. But it could well be the most important concept of our time. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted as a direct or indirect result of an activity (Yarrow, Joanna. How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: 365).

Earth’s biological cycle produces carbon dioxide and supports plants and other microorganisms to grow (Walser, Maggie L. "Carbon Footprint."). However, ever since the industrial revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased dramatically compared it to its natural balance. CO2 is being released about three times faster than it can be reabsorbed. Every second, human activity emits another 770 tons- enough to fill 140 Olympic-size swimming pool (Yarrow, Joanna. How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: 365).A carbon footprint is produced by human activities and the burning of fossil fuel. A carbon footprint is the measure of the amount of greenhouse gas in the earth’s atmosphere, typically measured in tons CO2-equivalent. For example, the North American generates about 20 tons of CO2- eq each year. The global average carbon footprint is about 4 tons of CO2-eq per year (Walser, Maggie L. "Carbon Footprint."). Greenhouse gas is the main cause of climate change ("Carbon Footprint." Carbon Footprint). Due to high concentration of CO2 and many other gases in the atmosphere, greenhouse gases trap the sun’s heat in the atmosphere, increasing the surface temperature of Earth. With the presence of greenhouse gases the average temperature of the atmosphere is 56 F. With its absence the average temperature of atmosphere would be 22 F. The United States alone produced 20 tons of CO2-eq in 2005 (Walser, Maggie L. "Carbon Footprint.")....
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