Carbon Imprint – an Extended Definition
Discuss about Carbon Imprint – an Extended Definition……………
It has been one of the most challenging and yet most widely mentioned issue in the last five years and even before. Many have made comments about it and others have taken steps to address it (Wiedman & Minx 10). This is the issue of climate change through different ways like global warming. This is because there are so many issue closely related to climate change and its effects on the universe. While there are many causes of climate change, the main one has been through global warming which has been brought about by the continued and enhanced accumulation of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (Wiedman & Minx 5). This paper gives a detailed definition of carbon imprint as carbon emission is the single leading process in the production of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and so is responsible for the climate changes that result.
Carbon Emission and Carbon Imprint
Because the emission of carbon into the atmosphere occurs in different forms, carbon imprint is a methodology that aimed at having a clearer insight into the actual amount of carbon which individuals, products, processes, objects, and many other things are able to emit. This knowledge is very critical in the process of fighting against global warming ,in particular and climate change in general because it is only through having the knowledge and understanding of how much carbon something emits in a given ,period time that measures can be put in place to reduce the amount (Wiedman & Minx 8). Unless this is done, all the measures will be too generalized to be of any real value.
However, it is worth noting that unlike what the name suggests, carbon imprint is not just focused on the measurement or determination of the total amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by these things but actually covers all the greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere as well. Greenhouse gases are those gases which upon finding their way into the atmosphere act in difffferent ways with the same effect that there is an increase in the total amount of heat that is trapped at or close to the surface of the earth. What is critical is that these greenhouse gases, as the name suggests, have affect similar to that of a greenhouse (Wiedman & Minx 8). For purposes of simplicity, it is required that carbon imprints be reported in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted so that the measure is in units of carbon. This ought not to be taken to mean anything close to carbon only.
Benefits of Carbon Imprints
Having the knowledge of the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted by substances, organisms, and/or organizations has many advantages. The first one is that it helps in the mitigation of disaster related to the environment. This is usually done by mitigating the carbon imprints themselves (World Energy Council Report 3). The lesser the greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere the lesser the effects they cause. This mitigation of carbon imprints comes in different ways. Notable ones include the use of alternative sources of energy such as the use of wind energy to drive machinery as opposed to using coal or gasoline which are known to contain more greenhouse gases – specifically carbon and its compounds as well as certain halogens (World Energy Council Report 2). Another key mitigating approach of carbon imprints is by carrying out vigorous reforestation and afforestation programs so that vegetation is able to be planted where it is needed. Another benefit of carbon imprints os that they can help a nation or community to assess its level of pollution of the atmosphere (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology POST 2).
In the past, carbon imprints have been used to mobilize people to prepare for emergencies of different kinds. If higher carbon imprints are the case, then it has been noted that the emergencies are able to be in form of having people preparing for possible food shortages, a change in climatic patterns, among other issues (World Energy Council Report 3). A recent response to climate change directly linked to the constant use of carbon imprints has been the setting aside for observation of Earth Hour and Earth Day which is an initiative used to have people reducing their emission of carbon by switching off lights for an hour and a day respectively. This move aloe has seen carbon imprints dropping drastically in those areas.
Carbon Imprints for different Sources
The main greenhouse gases that are commonly emitted are carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These are emitted in different proportions by different sources. Therefore, there are different carbon imprints for different organizations, fuels, organisms, and power sources. For instance, a man who feeds solely on natural, raw food will have a lesser carbon imprint than one who leads a sedentary lifestyle – feeding on refined foods cooked for long hours (Energetics 1). This is because while the former does not need to consume any energy and so emit more greenhouse gases, the latter emits a lot of greenhouse gases through cooking and the food refining process.
Therefore, there can be calculated and made available for comparison different carbon imprints for different people, objects, animals, or even fuels. For instance, regular as a fuel has a lower carbon imprint than diesel because it contains a higher content of greenhouse gases (World Energy Council Report 3). Electric energy has a higher carbon imprint than wind energy, and generating hydroelectric power has lesser carbon imprints than generating solar power. Actually, the generation of different sources of energy varies in their carbon imprint. The following table best illustrates this.
(If 3.6 MJ = megajoule(s) == 1 kW·h = kilowatt-hour(s), then 1 g/MJ = 3.6 g/kW·h.; B = Black coal, Br = Brown coal, cc = combined cycle, oc = open cycle, TL = low-temperature, TH = high-temperature, WL = Light Water Reactors, WH = Heavy Water Reactors, #Educated estimate). This serves to illustrate how certain approaches to fuel generation ought to be done away with and replaced with approaches which have a lower carbon imprint.
|Emission factors of common fuels|
|Conc. Solar Pwr||&0000000000000040.00000040±15#|
For the graph below, the emission of carbon when generating electricity is illustrated. It is critical to note that coal has the highest carbon imprint of the seven fuels, with hydroelectric power having the lowest.
Climatic changes are occasioned largely by high levels of carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This measure to establish the amount of these gases emitted into the atmosphere from different sources constitutes the process of carbon imprint. When calculated, the findings of the amount of gases in the atmosphere has been able to help environmentalists, governments, and other concerned people and groups to put in place appropriate measures to reduce the amount of such gases finding their place in the atmosphere. This way, the atmosphere has been saved of the dire consequences of global warming and genera change in climate.
Energetics. The reality of carbon neutrality, 2007
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology POST. Carbon footprint of electricity
generation. October 2006, Number 268. 2006
Wiedman & Minx. A Definition of ‘Carbon Footprint’. Ecological Economics Research
Trends. C. C. Pertsova: Chapter 1, pp. 1–11. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 2008
World Energy Council Report. Comparison of energy systems using life cycle
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