CARBON FOOTPRINT GLOSSARY

With relation to previous articles on carbon footprint, here are top terms used, and their meaning.

Carbon footprint. A measure of the total amount of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere as a result of an individual’s, organisation’s, or nation’s actions. It’s usually  measured in tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).

Greenhouse gasses (GHG). Any type of gas in the atmosphere that blocks heat from escaping. In relation to your carbon footprint and climate change, the main ones to mention are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.

The greenhouse effect. The process through which GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere trap heat from the sun. Although this is a natural phenomenon that keeps the planet habitable, our GHG emissions are causing the Earth to warm up at an unnatural rate.

Climate change. A pattern of long-term change in the temperature and weather patterns either globally or regionally. Although these alterations occur naturally, man-made climate change is rapidly accelerating the pace of them.

Global warming. The rapid increase in average surface temperatures on Earth caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is just one element of climate change.

Fossil fuels. Natural resources that produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses when burnt. Coal, oil and natural gas are all examples.

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