Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is a greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change. It is produced when anything containing carbon is burned, such as coal, natural gas, petrol and other oil derivatives. In order to avoid climate change, we need to reduce the amount of CO2 we produce, both directly and indirectly. Although some suggest that all we need to do is implement some technical fixes for climate change and carry on as normal (see Climate Engineering: A critical review of proposals, their scientific and political context, and possible impacts), the only long-term solution is to cut our CO2 emissions.
The average person in the UK produces around 11 tonnes of CO2 a year. Many climate scientists believe that we must try and reduce this to around 2.5 tonnes a year if we are going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Your carbon footprint is a measure of how much carbon you produce, through your lifestyle and day to day activities. To find out how much CO2 you produce and to get some ideas about ways to reduce it, try using a carbon calculator.
You can find some suggestions of some practical ways in which you can cut your CO2 emissions and make a difference, on our ‘Take Action” pages.