The greenhouse effect is the phenomenon where some of the radiation (infraredlight) emitted from the Earth to space is reflected back to the Earth by greenhouse gases and warms the Earth. The reason why this phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect is because the process is similar to the operation of a greenhouse.
The gases that cause this effect are also called greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are compounds consisting of gases such as carbondioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrousoxide (N2O), watervapor (H2O) andozone (O3) and have the property of retaining heat in the atmosphere.
Carbondioxide and other similar gases that make up the atmosphere are similar to the glass ceiling of the greenhouse. While the sun rays reflected from the atmosphere warm the earth during the day, it cools down by releasing this heat back in to the atmosphere at night. However, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap some of the heat, keeping the world at about 15 degrees Celsius.
The green house effect is a natural process. Thanks to the greenhouse effect created by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, they keep the temperature of the world in balance and make the planet livable for living things.
The increase of greenhouse gases in the world above normal values causes global warming.
The excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere prevent the light from leaving the atmosphere, and as the number of rays coming out of the atmosphere decreases, the temperature in the atmosphere increases. This imbalance negatively affects life on earth.
The causes of CO2 emission are generally human activities. Uncontrolled industrialization, rapidly increasing population and urbanization are the general causes of carbondioxide emissions.
The country with the highest carbon footprint is China. The reason China has such a large carbon footprint is largely due to its reliance on coal.
China says its carbonemissions will peak in 2030. It aims to derive 25% of its energy from non-fossil fuels by 2030 and promises to be carbon neutral by 2060.
Being carbon neutral means balancing the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of any activity of an institution and having net zero emissions.
The USA is the country with the highest carbon emissions per capita. More than 80% of the US's energy comes from fossil fuels.
The US wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 2005, and aims to be carbon neutral by 2050
European Union; It promises a 5% reduction in 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It aims to increase its renewable energy level to 40% by 2030 and aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. The main emitters of carbon dioxide in the EU are Germany, Italy and Poland.
The carbon footprint of the greenhouse gases emitted by an individual, a country or an organization as a result of their activities is called carbon footprint. The carbon footprint is measured in units of carbon dioxide.
The carbon footprint is examined in two different dimensions as personal and corporate.
1-Personal carbon footprint
It expresses how much of the emissions we are personally responsible for the emissions released to the world during the annual life activities of people. Personal carbon footprint is divided into:
⦁ Primary carbon footprint
The primary carbon footprint is the emission value resulting from the energy consumption of people in daily life to meet their needs. For example, natural gas burned for heating or vehicle fuels used for transportation are evaluated under the name of primary carbon footprint.
⦁ Secondary carbon footprint
The primary footprint directly damages the earth, while the secondary footprint has an indirect effect. It refers to the amount of greenhouse gases, in terms of carbon, that are indirectly released during the life span of the products we use, from production to consumption and even to their destruction in nature. Carbon emissions caused by the energy used in all these processes, including the delivery and use of the products to the user, are included in this category.
2-Corporate carbon footprint
Emissions resulting from the direct or indirect activities of a business are referred to as the corporate carbon footprint.
It expresses the emissions related to the annual activities of the institutions and is divided into 3.
⦁ Direct carbon footprint: It refers to the fossil fuels and emissions generated by the fossil fuels that institutions use to continue their activities.
⦁ Indirect carbon footprint: It is related to electrical energy. It covers emissions such as steam, cooling, keeping warm that the institution purchases from supplier institutions.
⦁ Other indirect carbon footprint: It refers to the emissions covering all the products used by the institutions in the supply chain, subcontracting activities, rental vehicles and even the transportation of the employees for business purposes.
Sustainability means meeting the economic and social needs of the time we live in, without adversely affecting the ecosystem and without harming the opportunities of future generations. It covers the correct and efficient use of resources in the world with the increase in population, decrease in forest areas and increasing food need. This concept means acting by thinking not only of the present but also of the future generations and realizing long-term plans.
Carbon footprint and sustainability are related concepts. In order to ensure sustainability, individuals and institutions need to measure their carbon footprints and keep them within certain values. According to a study conducted in 2017, the annual average carbon footprint per capita in Turkey is 3,287 tons of carbon dioxide.
CARBON FOOTPRINT WITH WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
A wearable technology called MagnifiSense, developed at the University of Washington, can detect which devices and tools the user interacts with throughout the day, allowing that person to track their carbon footprint and activate smart home applications.
The wrist-worn sensor locates the user when he presses a light switch, turns on a stove, or even takes a train. It makes this determination thanks to the electrical components or motors in the devices. With these determinations, the device measures the approximate carbon footprint of the person.
A technology company called Layer can measure a person's carbon footprint with the wristbands it has developed. It creates a “carbon cloud” to visualize your daily carbon footprint based on things like what you buy, where you travel, etc.
The mobile application of this bracelet gives the person a specific goal by looking at the person's activity history, and if the person achieves these goals, he wins rewards from businesses with low carbon production.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO TO REDUCE THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT?
⦁ Personal vehicles significantly increase carbon emissions. People can reduce their carbon emissions by using public transportation or cycling instead of using their personal vehicles when not necessary.
⦁ The increase in the use of plastic bottles also increases carbon emissions. The production, storage, transportation, recycling or nature of plastic bottles significantly increases carbon emissions. Using water bottles outside can help us reduce plastic consumption.
⦁ People can reduce their carbon footprint by reducing their water consumption.
⦁ Sunlight helps us to warm up. Choosing south-facing homes and businesses offers great opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint. The sun should be used more for both lighting and heating. Reducing the boiler's setting by 1 degree can reduce carbon emissions by 500 kg per year.
⦁ Waste management, separation of household waste can significantly reduce carbon emissions. Recyclable household waste should be included in the collection system. Organic wastes can be used to make compost. Compost, which is rich in nutrients, is very valuable for garden and pot soils.
⦁ The use of second-hand products can be increased. Continuing to use clothes and furniture that have not yet lost their functionality will significantly reduce the carbon footprint. Especially the chemicals contained in electronic goods, the energy they emit to nature and the plastics they contain greatly increase carbon emissions. For this reason, supporting second-hand markets and item sharing networks will be an effective step to reduce the carbon footprint.
HOW ATHLETES CAN REDUCE THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT?
⦁ Walking and cycling in open areas instead of using tools such as treadmills or exercise bikes, is the best way to decrease carbon footprint.
⦁ They can track the amount of carbon they produce using wearable technology and mobile applications that measure carbon footprint.
⦁ Importance can be given to domestic and organic food consumption. During the transfer of products from different regions, a lot of carbon dioxide is released.
⦁ A very serious amount of greenhouse gases is released in red meat production. Cattle and bovine milk production covers 65% of the total greenhouse gases produced by the livestock sector. Alternative foods can be preferred instead of red meat. The carbon footprint of plant protein sources is small.
⦁ Plastic consumption can be reduced by using water bottles instead of constantly buying plastic bottles to meet water needs.