What are Carbon Emissions?
Carbon emissions, or greenhouse gases (GHG), is a gas that is released into the atmosphere that emits radiation because of human day-to-day activities. When we burn fossil fuels, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere which can cause the overall temperature of the planet to increase. This is called global warming and it has a lot of bad effects on the planet, like unpredictable climate change – from hurricanes to droughts.
Carbon Emission Sources:
Most humans have a large carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere because of a person, group, event or organization. Below are a few sources of carbon emissions caused by human activity.
1) Electricity: Electricity is a large source of power in homes. Many times people forget to turn off the light when they are leaving a room, or turn off the water when they are not using it. This causes a lot of emissions into the atmosphere. Heating and air conditioning is also a big cause of CO2 emissions. It is important to be aware of how many energy you use in your home on a daily basis and make your household energy efficient.
2) Transportation: Transportation plays a large part in CO2 emissions. In today’s world, and especially in first world countries, most households have a car, and sometimes more than one car. People are choosing to drive even the shortest distances. This is causing pollution into the atmosphere as more and more emissions are being released and therefore it is important to drive smart, car pool, take public transportation, cycle, or walk shorter distances.
Ways to Offset Carbon Emissions:
To reduce one’s carbon footprint there are many precautions one can take. The most popular way to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce, reuse and recycle. You can also drive smarter, replace all the light bulbs in your house to energy saving ones, buy energy and water efficient appliances, buy local produce, purchase green electricity, and make climate conscious decisions.
Most of the time emissions are unavoidable so if you think it is too difficult to reduce your own carbon footprint, you can choose the option of carbon offsetting.
Carbon offsetting is a form of counterbalancing one’s carbon footprint through a third party. People pay money to third party organizations or projects that reduce the emissions of CO2 in the short or long-term. Carbon offsetting can help make a difference by reducing carbon emissions by purchasing ‘carbon credits’ from organizations that are working on green or planet helping projects. The most common project type is renewable energy, including wind farms, biomass energy, or hydroelectric dams. Some more examples of projects include the destruction of pollutants and landfill methane and forestry projects that save and plant trees instead of destroying them.
Carbon offsetting isn’t however seen as a permanent solution to your carbon guilt if you are not trying to reduce your footprint because your CO2 emissions are still effecting the planet.