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Carbon footprints and Ecological footprints

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1 Carbon footprints and Ecological footprints
Y10 Physics Notes - Carbon Footprint Carbon footprints and Ecological footprints

2 CO2 emission per capita

3 Carbon footprint Carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide or CO2 emitted through the combustion of fossil fuels; in the case of an organization, business or enterprise, as part of their everyday operations; in the case of an individual or household, as part of their daily lives; or a product or commodity in reaching market. For materials, is essentially a measure of embodied energy, the result of life cycle analysis.

4 Carbon footprint A carbon footprint is often expressed as tons of carbon dioxide or tons of carbon emitted, usually on a yearly basis. There are many versions of calculators available for carbon footprinting – most of the ones on the web are used to get you to buy products in the guise of being more ‘Earth friendly’!

5 Carbon footprint It is directly related to the amount of natural resources consumed and increasingly used or referred to as a measure of environmental impact. Carbon dioxide is recognized as a greenhouse gas, of which increasing levels in the atmosphere are linked to global warming and climate change.

6 Activities that affect the carbon footprint of individuals
Car travel depends on distance driven, fuel efficiency, and number of passengers per vehicle. Air travel depends on distance and number of flights. Take-off and landing use large amounts of fuel, so two short flights produce more carbon than one long flight of comparative distance. Boat travel depends on distance travelled, fuel efficiency, and size of the boat. Can produce up to 8 times more carbon dioxide than an airplane traveling the same distance [citation needed].

7 Activities that affect the carbon footprint of individuals
Other motorised transport such as bus or train: normally counts for less per person than either car or air travel. Electricity use, if provided by non-renewable resources. (Some calculators ask for figures from utility bills, while others estimate the amount from size of household and usage patterns (such as whether you leave equipment on standby overnight)).

8 Activities that affect the carbon footprint of individuals
Home heating depends on fuel source and amount used. Food miles how much food you buy from non-local sources. Diet - meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan, conventionally farmed foods or organic produce. Production of food includes fuel use for cultivation and processing and packaging.

9 Ecological footprint The phrase "ecological footprint" is a metaphor used to depict the amount of land and water area a human population would hypothetically need to provide the resources required to support itself and to absorb its wastes, given prevailing technology. The term was first coined in 1992 by Canadian ecologist and professor at the University of British Columbia, William Rees.

10 Ecological footprint Footprinting is now widely used around the globe as an indicator of environmental sustainability. It can be used to measure and manage the use of resources throughout the economy. It is commonly used to explore the sustainability of individual lifestyles, goods and services, organisations, industry sectors, neighborhoods, cities, regions and nations.

11 Ecological footprint Ecological footprint analysis approximates the amount of ecologically productive land, sea and other water mass area required to sustain a population, manufacture a product, or undertake certain activities, by accounting the use of energy, food, water, building material and other consumables. The calculations used typically convert this into a measure of land area used in 'global hectares' (gha) per capita. A hectare is 10,000 square metres (a square with a 100 m side)

12 Ecological footprint It is a way of determining relative consumption for the purpose of educating people about their resource use and, sometimes, triggering them to alter their over-consumption. It can be combined with overpopulation concerns and stated as "the number of Earths it would take to support every human living exactly the way you do."

13 Y10 Physics Notes - Carbon Footprint
Ecological footprint Ecological footprints have been used to argue that current lifestyles are not sustainable. For example, the average "earthshare" available to each human citizen is approximately 1.9 gha per capita. The US average footprint is 9.5 gha per capita, and that of Switzerland 4 gha, whilst China's is circa 1.5 gha per head – at the moment!

14 Criticisms Calculated footprints can be inaccurate due to simplifying assumptions. Many factors of the calculations are based on crude estimates and the numbers may not be applicable to all places (the method is biased to Northern Hemisphere lifestyles). Also, the model generally does not count multiple uses of land: a forest is a carbon sink and the same area is not counted for food production.

15 Criticisms The per-person nature of footprinting is questionable.
For example, the model favors households with more children: A large house with ten children has a smaller per-person footprint than a house half its size with only one person. This could be a perverse result, since having more children might add to global overpopulation, with high ecological costs in the future. This would only occur if most of the world had or began having large families.

Criticisms Currently many countries are experiencing slow or even negative population growth (ex. Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, and Poland). To counter these uncertainties, the models of ecological footprinting are constantly being refined. NEW NASA/CSA MONITOR PROVIDES GLOBAL AIR POLLUTION VIEW FROM SPACE

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