A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases that are generated by our actions. It corresponds to the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) that we produced directly and indirectly with our lifestyle and activities.
Carbon footprints are usually measured in tons of CO2, during the period of a year. The average carbon footprint for a person globally is around 4 tons. The average global carbon footprint per year needs to drop under 2 tons by 2050. In this way, we can avoid a 2-degree rise in global temperatures.
According to the world In data, more than 400 billion metric tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere. Since 1800, the consumption of fossil fuels has increased carbon emissions.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, emissions were very low. Growth in emissions was still relatively slow until the mid-20th century. In 1950, the world emitted 6 billion tonnes of Carbon. By 1990, this had almost quadrupled to 22 billion tonnes. Emissions have continued to grow rapidly. Currently, we are emitting over 36 billion tonnes each year.
Did our current pandemic slow down carbon emissions?
When the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. The planet has already warmed by around 1.2C since pre-industrial times. There was an unprecedented reduction in carbon emissions as a result of shutdowns of the economy. Animals returned to big cities and air pollution declined in cities because of the reduction in traffic.
The reported drops in carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases, while helpful, are insufficient to slow climate change.Alex Hall, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at UCLA
However, a reduction in carbon emissions isn’t enough to significantly curb climate change. The emissions have taken place over the past several decades. To affect ongoing and future climate change, the recent emissions drop would have to be sustained over a much longer period than the likely duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
Emissions would need to drop by more than 25% to see a total drop in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and thus slow an annual global rise in temperatures.
Tips on reducing carbon emission by yourself