The term refers to a way of measuring the impact that individuals, groups, institutions, political entities, including countries, have on the environment or climate.  The metric used for the measurement is the amount of carbon generated.

It is possible to estimate the amount of carbon that is generated by all that we do, and to compare the footprints with others.  For instance, it has been calculated that the average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, while globally it is closer to 4 tons, and needs to drop to under 2 tons in order to avoid a 2℃ rise in global temperatures.







The carbon footprint generally differs from the calculation of a per capita level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as the GHGs are focused on production while the footprint is focused on a measure of consumption.

Some further ideas to explore on Carbon Footprint:

Use one of the carbon footprint calculators to determine your carbon footprint.

Determine how you can lower your footprint by 10%.

Are there differences in carbon footprints based on age or gender?


Nature Conservancy, Calculate Your Carbon Footprint: What’s your carbon footprint? Use this interactive calculator to find out—and take action.

Noelle Eckley Selin, “Carbon footprint: ecology and conservation,” Brittanica

“What is a carbon footprint – definition,” Time For Change

“Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Carbon Footprint,” Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB)

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