How To: Calculate your carbon footprint

Calculate your carbon footprint

Watch this video tutorial to learn how to calculate your carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is an equation that estimates just how much you, personally, are contributing to global warming—and all you have to do is plug some info into an online calculator. Figuring out how to make your footprint smaller, of course, is another matter.

You Will Need

* Your recent utility bills
* An estimate of how much gasoline your car uses
* Details of any recent traveling you've done

Step 1. Analyze the results

Review the summary of your carbon footprint, which you'll receive when you complete the questionnaire. Your footprint will be presented in the form of tons of CO2, or carbon dioxide, that you're responsible for producing each year.

Step 2. Explore carbon offsets

Explore carbon offsets, which are "credits" you can buy from companies that take steps, like planting trees, to offset the carbon dioxide you're creating.

Step 3. Take action

Don't ignore your new knowledge. Knowing just how much you're connected to the health of your planet is only the first step toward dedicated action.

Make sure that the carbon-offset programs have verifiable credentials; there's a lot of fraud in this new industry.

Step 4. Locate a carbon footprint calculator

Use an online search engine to locate a website with a "carbon footprint calculator." If you provide the information, these sites will determine your footprint for free.

Many of the websites that calculate your footprint will offer tips on how you can reduce it.

Step 5. Provide the requested information

Provide the requested information, which will include the number of people in your house; your average monthly energy costs; the type of car you drive; how much you drive; and any recent flights you've taken.

FACT: In February 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that global warming is "unequivocal" and very likely caused by human activities.

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