Browse Definitions :
Definition

carbon footprint

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A carbon footprint is a gauge of the measured output units of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) for a particular individual, product, practice or organization as it applies to environmental impact. Carbon footprint is most commonly expressed in metric tons per year. Historically, carbon footprint was an intended measure of all emissions but in its expression, it is converted to CO2.

A carbon footprint is an important measure of the environmental impact of carbon dioxide and methane’s contributing factors to man-made climate change in the form of greenhouse gases, also known as global warming.

A carbon footprint is composed of two parts, a primary and secondary footprint. The primary footprint is the sum of the direct carbon dioxide emissions of burning of fossil fuels, such as the domestic energy consumption by furnaces and waters heaters, and transportation, such as automobiles and airplane travel. The secondary footprint is the sum of indirect emissions associated with the manufacture and breakdown of all products, services and food an individual or business consumes.

Carbon footprint can be reduced through the use of carbon-neutral or carbon negative alternatives in materials or fuels. Some methods of building, lifestyle or power generation might end up locking away as much carbon as is produced in its processes, effectively making them carbon neutral. Going further, when more carbon is locked away into a material or in a process than is emitted, then it is carbon negative. Another option to reduce carbon footprint is the buying of carbon offsets, a credit purchased to negate a carbon footprint. Often, the funds from purchased offsets are used to invest in green energy projects, such as green computing technologies.

Several countries worldwide have set targets for reductions in emissions – carbon reduction commitments (CRC) – in international meetings with agreements like the Paris Agreement and the Copenhagen and Kyoto Accords.

This was last updated in September 2018

Continue Reading About carbon footprint

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

SearchSecurity

  • Trojan horse (computing)

    In computing, a Trojan horse is a program downloaded and installed on a computer that appears harmless, but is, in fact, ...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

    DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a relatively new protocol that encrypts domain name system traffic by passing DNS queries through a ...

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an operating system (OS) that uses hardware and software to allow a computer ...

Close