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“Greenhouse gases” and “carbon footprints” have become common topics of discussion as individuals, companies and nations worldwide examine what they can do to help protect the environment by reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

So, what exactly is a “carbon footprint”, how is it measured and what can we do to help improve it?

According to the UK Carbon Trust, a “carbon footprint” is the total amount of greenhouse gas emitted either directly or indirectly by a person, organization, event or product. Your “direct” emissions are caused by your direct actions (like burning gasoline in your car when you drive). Whereas “indirect” emissions are created by the actions of others but ultimately tied back to you. For instance, fuel is burned somewhere in the world in the manufacturing of a product that you eventually purchase in a store. You didn’t burn the fuel to create it, but you did purchase the product causing the fuel to be burned in its manufacturing (an indirect emission).

Your carbon footprint measures the total amount of five common greenhouse gases that are emitted both directly and indirectly, due to your actions. These gases are: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and Perfluorocarbons (PFCs). Carbon footprints are measured as tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), or tons of CO2. This number is reached by multiplying the emissions of each of the common greenhouse gases by its 100-year global warming potential.

Carbon offsets allow us to help balance our carbon footprint. A carbon offset neutralizes the release of one ton of CO2e by avoiding the release of one ton of CO2e somewhere else. These offset opportunities are offered through various types of projects, including renewable energy. Businesses and individuals may purchase the credits created by these greenhouse gas offset projects to help offset their greenhouse gas emissions and reduce their carbon footprint.

There are many things that you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint and preserve our environment while making a smart investment – and Empire Global is here to help you find the best opportunities to do just that.

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