This blog post will explain your carbon footprint and what that amount of carbon means for the atmosphere. Most of us probably know by now that burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, coal and natural gas produces carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide then accumulates in the atmosphere and is absorbed into the ocean, trapping in the sun's heat and acidifying the ocean, respectively.
A person's "carbon footprint" is the amount of carbon dioxide gas produced by the activities of that person (or group of people), often in a certain amount of time. The amount of carbon dioxide is usually expressed in tons, but what does a ton of carbon dioxide look like? Since CO2 is a colorless, odorless gas, it is hard to picture.
Turns out, it looks like this:
Most insurance companies estimate that the average American drives 12,000 miles a year. According to this handy carbon foot print calculator, that's 6.6 tons of CO2 per year for a passenger car that averages 20 mpg and 9.4 tons for an SUV at 15 mpg. Thats a lot of CO2 for each person!
Another interesting illustration of what a "carbon footprint" looks like in real life is this short video showing New York City's carbon emissions in a very graphic way: