What is a Carbon Footprint Calculator?

Ken Black

A carbon footprint calculator is a tool for estimating the amount of carbon dioxide an individual is responsible for expending over a certain period of time, likely one year. In some cases, the carbon footprint may be referred to as an ecological footprint or eco footprint, but this term usually implies more than just the expending of carbon dioxide. It takes into account pollutants, for example. The main benefit of a carbon footprint calculator, for those who are interested in being green, is finding out where your biggest expenditures are and figuring out how to cut down.

Driving less and using public transportation can help an individual reduce her or his carbon footprint.
Driving less and using public transportation can help an individual reduce her or his carbon footprint.

The carbon footprint calculator takes into account a number of different factors that all play a role in the amount of carbon dioxide for which an individual is responsible. This includes the home, the type of car driven, the number of flights taken per year, the use of public transportation, and even minor things like the type of diet one has. While the results will not be extremely accurate, it will provide a general picture to the consumer as to the amount of carbon dioxide he or she produces.

In some cases, online carbon footprint calculator websites will provide you with suggestions for how to be more eco-friendly. However, even those that do not give advice on sustainable living, there can still be a benefit. Simply playing with the numbers can indicate how much less carbon dioxide you could be producing. For example, instead of driving your car, entering figures for mass transportation or riding a bike should substantially lessen the overall size of the footprint you are creating.

There are proposals, at least in some countries, to tax carbon dioxide production in order to try to cut its production. While this normally applies to businesses, the most aggressive of these proposals calls for taxing individuals based on the size of their homes and even the types of vehicles they choose to drive. This may be determined by a formula similar to what is currently used by tools such as the carbon footprint calculator.

The importance of using a carbon footprint calculator is in its ability to show the user how much impact he or she can have on environmental issues, possibly including global warming. While no one individual can change an entire climate alone, if enough people become conscious of the issue and decide to not only check out a carbon footprint calculator, but follow the helpful tips, improvement can be made. In the end, the goal is to still have a comfortable and convenient quality of life, but do so in a more environmentally-friendly way.

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