Using petroleum and coal fuel sources has enabled our global civilization but has come at a terrible cost...global climate change that threatens our very survival. A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Everything we do contributes to a personal carbon footprint from using a computer to driving a car to keeping our food cold. There are many ways to reduce our personal carbon footprints but the tracks individuals leave are tiny compared to the giant footprints of modern industry. We still need to all do our part as responsible adults but it would take a LOT of computer time for YOU to create a TON of CO2!
The "solutions" offered today for the biggest polluters are often no solutions at all -- and certainly won't help stop climate change -- because the solutions are basically "permission to pollute" couched in doublespeak. Rather than stop the destruction of the earth, corporations today simply have to pay fines or throw some money at another "green" technology through "carbon offsetting" (and sometimes throwing that money at a company that is only green on the surface.) A ridiculous and unsustainable process that lines the pockets of those who clearly have no concern for the planet, the people upon it or the future. Corporations aren't people and so no one can be held accountable but they are RUN by people who know exactly what they're doing. Legally they can't be touched and morality doesn't seem to matter...they won't be alive when we hit 500ppm in CO2 levels which is the number at which our planet begins to disintigrate.
Some examples of "solutions" for corporations that aren't really solutions at all...
Carbon Cap and Trade: A policy that essentially puts a price on carbon dioxide emissions by either giving away or auctioning off permits to emit the gas. In other words, "it's fine to pollute but we're going to charge you for it." The "cap" part: companies and industries "theoretically" have a limit on the amount of greenhouse gas that they can emit and -- so the story goes -- this will force companies to lower their output of pollution and greenhouse gases over the long run. The "trade" part: they can trade with other companies as in "companies that cut their pollution faster can sell allowances to companies that pollute more, or “bank” them for future use." Confusing and ridiculous? Yes. The consumers end up paying for all this in much higher energy costs and "carbon taxes" while big industry gets richer and keeps pumping TONS of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Investing in Renewables aka Carbon Offsetting: Since buildings and factories are HUGE energy users (and polluters) the ideal is for them to perform upgrades to become energy-efficient, right? But if a company -- or an organization -- simply can’t afford to "refit" their facility such as adding solar panels, there are "alternatives." The mitigation of their corporate carbon footprint through them contributing to the development of alternative projects, such as solar or wind energy or reforestation, represents one way of "reducing" their carbon footprint.
The problem with this "solution" is twofold: 1) it does nothing to reduce their actual carbon footprint and 2) it basically says it OK for companies to continue polluting (and doing things such as leaving the lights on all night in their facilty.) When it comes to making real changes that cost real money excuses are made which usually center around how much it affects profits. Some just choose the cheaper path...and for too many, offsetting and paying fines is less expensive than retrofitting or rebuilding. "We cannot afford it" really means "we don't want to stop polluting because it takes too much money away from our bottom line." The "we can't afford it" jargon sounds hollow when one looks at year after year record earnings and huge golden parachutes while the costs spiral out of control for the consumers.
And last but not least, Learning to Adapt to Climate Change. Our response:Say what? We don't want to adapt, we want it to stop! Cannabis can help reverse the CO2 levels...phytoremediation WORKS. Alternative energy such as solar and hemp biofuels are attainable goals but the other "big polluters" on this planet -- in deed and thought -- are governmental agencies that fight for their own agendas rather than fighting for the people they were elected to SERVE. Draconian laws against a harmless plant that could change our climate and the global economy are still in place despite MOUNTAINS of evidence about the benefits. Ridiculous and infuriating.