We talk about the CO2 calculator, when in fact we should be talking about legacy. What will our legacy be?
Everything we do on planet Earth leaves a mark, and the carbon footprint is ours.
What is a CO2 calculator?
The existence of each of us is itself a carbon generator.
You may remember that our breathing process takes in O2 (oxygen) and turns it into CO2 (carbon dioxide). Stay calm, you can keep breathing!
The function of the carbon calculator is to track our average pattern of emissions.
According to your lifestyle, the country you live in, and even whether you work in the office or at home, it is possible to understand what your average annual carbon emission is.
How is carbon footprint calculated?
The study of carbon emissions is the main concern regarding climate change.
At COP26, Conference of the Parties, you may have seen about the plan of several nations to reach zero emissions by 2030.
This is because carbon is one of the greenhouse gases. In practice, this means that it has the power to trap the heat that reaches the atmosphere from the sun’s rays.
CO2 is the main focus of global warming because it is the result of the chemical process of combustion.
This process is the same for all carbon emitters, so if you don’t know what combustion is, we suggest watching this quick video.
Basically, when we need to generate energy we induce a combustion process, where there is always oxygen + some kind of fuel.
For this reason we use fossil fuels, which have been the foundation for building modern society since the 19th century.
The devil is in the waste. Energy is not the only result of this process. In the case of burning fossil fuels (oil), this waste is CO2.
To get an idea, that’s 120.1g of CO2 per kilometer.
This way we can calculate the carbon footprint in every sphere of our lives: transportation, food, housing, electricity, among other examples.
Each mode of consumption has its own carbon dioxide emission burden. It is based on this calculation that nations want to reach net zero.
What is net zero?
Net zero is an abbreviation for net zero carbon emissions.
This is the goal of nations committed to climate change to eliminate carbon emissions.
The meaning of net zero is simple: it is the balance between the CO2 we throw into the atmosphere and the carbon we manage to capture.
Currently, countries are in a race to get to net zero first. Not only because it is great for the planet, but because the entire global economy must revolve around the environment in the coming years.
Countries that do not achieve net zero can face sanctions and even lose important trade relations, because there is a very big political risk for any administration that is seen as ecologically irresponsible.
Of course, the challenge will be very different for each country, as the starting points are very different.
Carbon emissions by country
The most polluting countries in the world are China and the United States. In 2022 alone, China emitted almost 10,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The United States exceeded 4 thousand tons.
Ranking of countries by CO2 emission
The 10 countries that emitted the most CO2 in the year 2022 were:
- United States
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
If you want to know more information about the carbon footprint of countries, take a look at the scientific studies that show the most about each nation’s pollution.
Calculating the carbon footprint – PPM
Do you know how the carbon footprint is measured? Scientists use the measurement ppm (parts per million) to identify the amount of CO2 present in a sample.
For this measurement, infrared sensors are used, as this is a safe and effective method of measurement.
In the sample, the behavior of the gases and the change in temperature and pressure conditions are observed, and in this way it is possible to gauge the concentration of specific gases.
As you already know, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) have the power to trap the radiation received from the sun, retaining more heat than other gases.
Is global warming getting better?
No. In the year 2021, CO2 levels in planet Earth’s atmosphere were 414.7 parts per million (ppm). According to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), this number represents an increase of 2.66 ppm compared to 2022.
The data for 2022 are not yet consolidated, but, the projections are no better than this.
How can I calculate my carbon footprint?
We all have our responsibility for climate change. While large corporations are the real carbon footprint villains, our choices and lifestyle also play a role in annual CO2 emissions.