Every activity we do leads to the emission of some carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Do you know that you can now measure how much carbon dioxide you are using, and thus know how to reduce it? This is done by trading 'carbon credits'.
What are carbon credits?
It is now well known that emission of CO2 from burning fossil fuels causes global climate change. In 1997, countries around the world agreed on the Kyoto Protocol, which lists the methods used to reduce carbon emissions. One of the methods is the trading of carbon credits.
A carbon credit is defined as one tonne of CO2, or an amount of another gas that has the same effect on the atmosphere. If you agree not to emit one tonne of CO2, you are allotted one credit by the government. You can then sell this credit to someone who cannot avoid emitting CO2. This is called emissions trading. The idea behind carbon credits is to make emitting CO2 expensive, and hence provide an incentive to companies to switch to more eco-friendly methods.
Emissions trading is practiced in Europe, and is being adopted by many other countries. But how do you know how many carbon credits you should be getting? For this, you have to calculate your 'carbon footprint'.
A carbon credit is defined as one tonne of CO2, or an amount of another gas that has the same effect on the atmosphere.
Calculating your carbon footprint
We consume energy in all our activities, whether it is travelling (burning fuel), studying (light), watching TV or even sleeping (our fan or AC will be on!). As electricity is produced from burning coal or from dams, CO2 is emitted. The total CO2 emitted because of your activity is your carbon footprint for that activity.
Try this. When you go somewhere by car, note down from the fuel gauge how much petrol was burnt. In a fuel-efficient car, one litre of petrol produces about 2.3 kg of CO2*. So you can calculate how much CO2 was emitted during the journey. Now try the same journey by bus. In a fuel-efficient bus, a litre of diesel produces around 2.68 kg of CO2*.
To calculate your individual footprint, simply divide the total CO2 emitted during the journey, by the number of people in that journey. Now, which turned out to be lesser?
There are many ways you can use, for example traveling by public transport instead of a car, using a fan instead of an AC, or even sleeping and waking early! Why not suggest your own way in the comments section below. Let's see how innovative we can get!
*These numbers are not accurate and are estimates meant for academic calculation only.