What is a Carbon Footprint?

What is a Carbon Footprint?

Carbon refer to Carbon Dioxide, a colourless odourless gas, formed by the burning of carbon/fossil fuels, or breathed out by animals/humans from the lungs

Footprint – Impression of a human or an animal foot on a surface. (Oxford Dictionary)


Carbon Footprint is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions/release/production/discharge, cause by an organisation, event, production or person through burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heating, transport etc.

In other words: The measurement of the total amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4) emissions of a defined population, system or activity, considering all relevant sources sinks and storage within the spatial and temporal boundary of the population, system or activity of interest, is called The Carbon Footprint.


Carbon Footprint originates from the ecological footprint discussion. It’s a subset of the ecological footprint and of the comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment. The Ecological Footprint is a measurement of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems.

How is it Measured?

The Carbon Footprint is measured in units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Two Parts: Primary Footprint and Secondary Footprint. Primary Footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from burning Fossil Fuels, including domestic energy consumption and transportation. We have direct control of these.

Secondary Footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products we use, from manufacturing to the eventual breakdown. In other words: the more se buy, the more emissions is caused on our behalf.

What influence the growth of Carbon Footprint?

Population, economic output, energy and carbon intensity of the economy; these factors are the main targets to decrease carbon footprint.


How can we ease or lessen the growing carbon footprint? By developing alternative projects, such as solar/wind energy or reforestation. Decrease the amount of energy needed for production or to decrease the dependence on carbon emitting fuels. This represents only a few ways of reducing Carbon Footprint and is also called Carbon Offsetting.

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