What is a carbon footprint?


Quick Answer

A carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide a person contributes to the environment. Too much carbon dioxide can have a harmful effect on the environment. It is theorized that increasing the amount of greenhouse gases can contribute to global warming; reducing carbon emissions may reverse this process.

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Full Answer

Carbon dioxide is produced by the exhalations of all members of the animal kingdom; it is also released by burning fossil fuels. Generally, carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere when it's absorbed by plants. Excess carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere and traps heat. Both conserving electricity and recycling reduces emissions from coal burning power plants; these actions can reduce a person's carbon footprint.

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