Carbon Footprint And Water Footprint Environmental Sciences Essay

The paper is written on Ecological Footprint and its two subsets: Carbon Footprint and Water Footprint. These different Footprints are accounting tools which are used to mensurate the impact of resource ingestion on the environment. The tool helps in meaning that how deep human existences have penetrated to upset the ecological balance. Ecological Footprint is a advancement index which is used to accomplish environmental sustainability. The paper starts with a little debut on Ecological Footprint and is so followed by the relationship between Biocapacity ( BC ) and Ecological Footprint ( EF ) . BC and EF portion a supply and demand relationship.

The BC and EF relationship is really of import because it helps the analyst to find a state ‘s or parts natural capital and resource ingestion in that bioproductive country. If the biocapacity of a bioproductive country is sufficient to fulfill the Ecological Footprint so its stated that the country has reserve resources. If the Biocapacity is non sufficient to carry through the Ecological demand so there is shortage of resource. In this instance, the state or the part has to merchandise with others for natural resources. The shortage of resources provinces that the ingestion rate is really fast than the Earth ‘s reclamation rate.

Carbon Footprint is another tool which is used to mensurate an person ‘s part towards green house gas emanation ( GHG ) .Carbon Footprint reckoner helps an person to happen out his C footmark value. Higher the C Footprint the more part an person is doing towards Global Warming. Water Footprint is besides a subset of Ecological Footprint and is a fresh construct. Water Footprint is an accounting tool which helps in finding the volume of fresh H2O consumed by an person, group or metropolis.

The paper suggests few ways by which Carbon and H2O Footprint can be reduced. The lone intent for cut downing the footmark value is to come on towards sustainability and to endow a sufficient and livable Earth to our hereafter coming coevalss.

Chapter I: Introduction

The Ecological Footprint is the step to find the extent to which human existences consume nature ‘s resources to the sum that can be regenerated by the Earth. The Ecological Footprint ( EF ) is fundamentally a immature accounting tool for renewable resources that is used for finding the issues associated with sustainable ingestion. Ecological Footprint represents the human demands for nature ‘s resources and how much bioproductive land and sea country is required to renew those resources to carry through human demands under predominating engineering. The tool helps in finding how many Earths ‘ are required to back up the current humanity patterns and ingestion. In 2006, it was stated by UN that the Humanity ‘s Entire Ecological Footprint was about 1.4 planet Earths ; this estimation signifies that to worlds consumes resources 1.4 times faster than the Earth to regenerate them. It takes about three old ages for UN to roll up all the informations from all the states to gauge Humanity ‘s entire Ecological Footprint.

The Ecological Footprint tool is normally used in concurrence with Biocapacity ( BC ) and is expressed as EF/BC. Biocapacity refers to capacity of the country to supply natural resources and to accept or absorb waste. When the Ecological Footprint exceeds the Biocapacity grade it leads to un-sustainability. Thus the mathematical difference between EF and BC can be positive or negative, where positive agencies shortage and negative agencies excess. The construct of EF/BC is a good analytical tool for making consciousness about resource ingestion, depletion and regeneration. This tool is besides really of import for doing the people realize the ability of Earth to renew consumed resources and to absorb the waste stuffs in a limited clip frame.

The Ecological Footprint value that is calculated at the terminal for appraisal are categorized for goods, services, C emanation, H2O use, lodging country, land used for work or any other intent and besides the figure of Earths that will be required to run into the universe ‘s population and their degrees of ingestion. Ecological footmark is measured in footings of planetary hectares ( gha ) . This accounting step is really much similar to the life rhythm analysis where the energy and resource ingestion are converted into a normalized value which is the step of land called the planetary hectares.


The construct of Ecological Footprint was foremost published in 1992 by William Rees. The construct was profoundly explored by Mathis Wackernagel under Mr. Rees supervising at University of British Columbia in Canada from 1990-94. Originally the construct was named as “ Appropriate Carrying Capacity ” but was subsequently changed to “ Ecological Footprint ” after acquiring inspired by a computing machine technician who appreciated the expression of his new computing machine as a “ little footmark on the desk ” . A book was published in 1996 by Rees and Wackernagel called Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth.


Ecological Footprint is an accounting tool which is used to mensurate the ingestion of Earth ‘s resources by persons, district, provinces, states and universe to their corresponding capacity of Earth to renew those resources and absorb the wastes. The tool can be used for:

Analyzing the life style of the people and their day-to-day resource ingestion.

Analyzing the extent to which a state is using its biocapacity and so comparing the consequences with that of the other states.

Educating the people to do them recognize about the biocapacity and the complete ingestion of nature ‘s resources with an thought to alter their personal wonts and resource use.

Determining the actions and current life styles of the people and the state which are non sustainable.

Motivating the Multinational Companies to calculate their ain Ecological Footprint and take required steps to cut down the computed value. This can be done by taking enterprises towards environmental sustainability and by explicating corporate societal duty policies.

Chapter II: Reappraisal OF LITERATURE


The Ecological Footprint ( EF ) is used to mensurate how much renewable resources of the biosphere are consumed by human and how fast the Earth is able to regenerate those resources. The renewable resources include croplands, animate being merchandises, wood and lumber, fish, etc.

The ingestion of resources and the usage of built up bioproductive country is measured in footings of planetary hectares ( gha ) . It is a step of how much bioproductive land and sea has been used by persons, districts, provinces and states to bring forth the consumable renewable resources and so to absorb the waste.

The planetary output factor by type of ingestion is a step which translates the merchandise into an country that is required to bring forth that merchandise. The merchandise to be consumed can be harvests, lumber, piscaries, grazing land, etc. The productiveness of the merchandise depends upon the clip choice, merchandise choice ( carnal merchandises, harvests, fish ) and the type of land associated with the merchandises ; croplands for harvest, dairy farms for animate being merchandises, piscaries for fishes.

The equality factor translates the land type into planetary hectares ( in gha/ha ) . This factor determines the universe ‘s mean productiveness of a given type of productive country to the universe ‘s mean productiveness of all the countries.

In general there are six ecological bioproductive country:

Crop land: The land used for turning grains, veggies, fruits and for feeding the farm animal. From ecological position it is the most productive country.

Pasture: The land that is used for croping the farm animal, to construct domestic fowl farms, to bring forth dairy merchandises like cheese and butter.

Forest: The land that is used for turning trees or natural forest which can in turn output lumber. They serve other ecological intents besides like forestalling dirt eroding, ecological balance, protecting biodiversity, clime stableness and keeping the hydrological rhythms.

Sea, Rivers and Oceans: They maintain the marine life and supply fishing installations. They besides help in keeping and equilibrating temperatures, land and sea zephyr, capturing the solar energy, etc. The coastal country provides the sea ‘s ecological production.

Energy land: The land used to sequester C dioxide and for roll uping tantamount sum of useable energy.

Built up land: The land that is used by worlds for their colonies, edifice houses, roads and building high terminal substructures. It is noticed that human colony is largely concentrated in the fertile countries of the part.

It is really of import for every person to cipher their Ecological Footprint to cognize their base. Human existences are the lone 1s responsible for the depletion of natural resources. They have started devouring so many resources and so quickly that it is non possible for the Earth to get by up with its rate and therefore reclamation of resources is delayed. Globalization is the current market tendency. Everything is turning planetary, developing states are using this chance to derive competitory advantage and to beef up their economic system by puting in substructure. To put up a new substructure land, money and resources are required where land comes from the reserved forest lands and resources from the excess quota.

The forest lands are for the animate beings, it ‘s their natural home ground. Using the forest land disturbs the biodiversity and therefore leads to extinction of many species. Forest lands are besides major countries for forestalling dirt eroding and equilibrating ecological rhythms. The use of resources should be such that the coming coevalss can besides hold entree to these resources without compromising. The hereafter coevals besides have the rights to utilize natural resources and if the current tendency is followed where the rapid resource use is taking topographic point so the really shortly these resources will consume and there will be nil to utilize.

There are many Ecological Footprint reckoners available these yearss to cipher persons, states and universe Ecological Footprint. The reckoners measure the difference between the Ecological resource use and the biocapacity which is used to find per capita resource sum. The following subdivision will explicate the EF and BC accounting which is a tool to mensurate whether the bioproductive country has surplus or shortage resources.


There is a steady rate at which the nature can reconstruct the renewable resources which have been consumed. The thought behind Ecological Footprint is non to acquire a value for which resources are being used and how much resource ingestion is done by an person, district, province or state but alternatively how fast they being consumed. The current scenario provinces that the ingestion rate is really high in comparing to the reclamation rate of Earth.

Ecological Footprint and biocapacity relationship is similar to the Demand-Supply relationship in economic sciences. Ecological Footprint measures the bioproductive country ( land or H2O ) required by the population to devour renewable resources under the prevailing engineering to bring forth waste which is to be absorbed. Biocapacity is the capacity of the country to bring forth renewable resources. Therefore, Ecological Footprint is the demand for renewable resources and Biocapacity is the supply of renewable resources. When EF and BC are used together they are either referred to as EF/BC accounting or merely EF accounting. EF accounting is a tool to compare the supply with the demand.

The difference between the EF and BC can either be positive or negative. The positive value refers to shortage of nature ‘s renewable resources and negative value refers to the surplus/reserve of nature ‘s renewable resources.

EF-BC = ” Positive ” … .. Deficit

EF-BC = ” Negative ” … .. Excess

Figure 1

A state ‘s ecological shortage can be compensated by acquiring into trade understandings with other states who have ecological militias or by liquefying ecological assets. In instance of planetary ecological shortage there is no compensation available and is therefore equal to overshoot. The Ecological footmark can be decreased with:

A little population per a given country

Less ingestion of resources per individual

High resource efficiency which can be rapidly renewed.

It is possible that the demand can transcend the biocapacity grade thereby taking to overshoot. This can happen when:

The trees and harvests are harvested faster than they can re-grow.

Depletion in the piscaries before being restocked.

Quick emanation of CO2 into the ambiance doing it hard for the ecosystem to sequester it.

Overshoot is no longer a local phenomena but alternatively a planetary phenomena. It is non merely that people have started utilizing more resources but have besides started occupying nature ‘s rule. Some effects of wave-off are:

Natural capital settlement

Accretion of CO2 in the ambiance


Lack of biodiversity

Scarcity of fresh water

Figure 2


The Ecological Footprint can be calculated by separately analyzing the sum of land used for:

Crop cultivation

Turning lumber

Croping animate beings and farm animal


Transportation system

Constructing high-tech substructure

Energy production

Electricity use

An person ‘s Ecological Footprint can be calculated by summing all these countries. The natural capital per individual can be calculated by taking the entire population and so spliting it by the figure of hectares of bioproductive land. The current value for single Ecological Footprint is 4.7 on the planet per individual.

The mean productiveness of different bioproductive country varies from other countries as they depend upon the conditions conditions and the manner the country is maintained. For illustration the mean productiveness of croplands is more than any other land types. Thus the country ‘s productiveness is converted into its corresponding equality factor so as to stand for it in planetary hectares. The equality factor remains the same for all states but it varies each twelvemonth because of comparative productiveness and the land use depending upon the environmental factors ( conditions ) .

Figure 3

The mean bioproductive country per individual worldwide was 1.8 about in 2006. The World Wide Fund for Nature claims that the human ecological footmark has exceeded the planet ‘s biocapacity by 20 % .

Footprint per capita of:

United States of America- 9.0 gha

Switzerland- 5.6 gha

China- 1.8 gha

The mean Ecological Shoe Size for different parts in planetary hectares can be seen below. North America leads the chart with the highest ecological footmark.

Figure 4

Among the states United States of America, India and China have the highest Ecological Footprint. While ciphering the EF without cognizing the population size of that state it can non be stated what the population or each person is demanding. Both India and China are extremely populated states but their resource use is below the universe norm value. In instance of US, the mean footmark per individual is five times that of the universe norm.

Ecological Footprint of persons shacking in developing states is less than the persons shacking in developed states. Developed states use progress engineering and have modern substructure which require more resources for their working and care therefore doing its single Ecological Footprint above 4.7. In instance of developing states the value is low because of less industrialisation and normally floats below 4.7.


The Ecological Footprint can be applied to organisations, persons, districts, metropoliss, provinces, states and universe as a whole. It helps in planning and to budget the natural capital. Thus the EF can be used in for different applications and it can be ensured that the EF remains every bit low as possible. This can be done by:

Using resource efficient engineerings that require minimum natural capital.

Motivating people to keep a clean environment by cut downing the demand of fossil fuel and by doing the country prosaic friendly.

Promote household planning and cut down household size so that per individual ingestion of resources is saved.


The Ecological Footprint can be farther categorized into:

Carbon Footprint

Water Footprint

Both the types of footmarks are briefly taken up in following subdivisions.


The term Carbon Footprint refers to the entire clump of Green House Gases emanations caused by a individual, merchandise, community, organisation or an activity. The Carbon Footprint is normally measured in footings of sum of C dioxide released ; it can be either in per centum of C dioxide ( gas ) or in kgs of C ( solid atoms ) .

Carbon Footprint is a division of Ecological Footprint and Life Cycle Assessment. A Green House Gas Assessment can be taken up to cipher persons, organisations and state ‘s Carbon Footprint. Once the Carbon Footprint is known assorted schemes can be devised to cut down it. Few Schemes are:

Adopting Cleaner Technology procedure

Efficient merchandise and procedure direction

Using green merchandise ; which are eco- friendly

Using renewable beginnings of energy

Procuring and utilizing green natural stuffs

Adopting waste direction patterns

Rehearsing Carbon countervailing programmes

Carbon Offsetting is the decrease of Carbon footmark by the extenuation of Carbon Footprints through alternate undertaking development like air current energy, solar energy, and re-afforestation.


A Carbon Footprint is made up of two parts: Primary footmark and Secondary footmark.

Primary Footprint: Primary Footprint refers to the direct emanation of Carbon Dioxide into the ambiance. Direct emanation can be by firing of fossil fuels, transit, mill chimneys, combustion of harvests for harvest rotary motion, etc.

Secondary Footprint: Secondary Footprint refers to the indirect emanation of Carbon Dioxide. Indirect emanation refers to acquiring associated with the merchandise or procedure which is straight breathing C dioxide. Example of Secondary Footprint is purchasing merchandises wherein during the merchandise lifecycle C dioxide emanation had taken topographic point. So the more you buy the more you will lend towards secondary emanation.

The undermentioned questionnaire can be taken to look into how much an single contributes towards indirect C dioxide emanation.

Make you eat vegetarian nutrient or non vegetarian nutrient?

Do you purchase or turn organic nutrient?

Do you purchase local nutrient and goods?

Do you purchase new apparels or 2nd manus apparels?

Do you purchase new contraptions or 2nd manus contraptions?

Make you utilize things that are reclaimable?

Do you seek to utilize common vehicle while going?

The chart below shows the sum of Carbon dioxide release in to the ambiance: Primary Footprint

Figure 5


Water Footprint is an accounting tool to mensurate the entire volume of fresh H2O used for goods and production fabrication and consumed by persons, groups or community. Water Footprint is measured in footings of volume consumed or H2O polluted per unit of clip. Water Footprint can be calculated for consumers or manufacturers. Consumers include an single, community, household, society, small town, state or a metropolis. Manufacturers include public or private organisations.

Water Footprint is an index which non merely measures the volume of H2O used or polluted but besides the parts and locations. Water Footprint is a fresh subset of Ecological Footprint and it does non supply any visible radiation on part of embedded H2O towards environmental impact or H2O emphasis.


Water Footprint consists of 3 constituents:

Blue Water Footprint: It accounts to the entire volume of fresh water that has been used or evaporated from surface or land H2O to bring forth merchandises and services which are consumed by single, groups or society.

Green Water Footprint: It accounts to the entire volume of H2O evaporated from the dirt ( moisture content of the dirt because of rain H2O )

Grey Water Footprint: It accounts to the volume of contaminated H2O that is used for the production of goods and services for groups, society or persons. It besides refers to the sum of H2O required to thin the pollutants such that the H2O remains above the acceptable criterions for H2O quality.


Water Footprint for single consumers refers to the entire sum of fresh H2O consumed either straight or indirectly by the them. Direct ingestion is the H2O used at place for imbibing, rinsing, cleansing and other intents. Indirect ingestion is the entire volume of fresh H2O used for bring forthing goods and other services which are so consumed by the consumers.

The mean Water Footprint worldwide is 1240 M3 water/person/year.

Chinese: 700 M3 water/person/year

United States of America: 2480 M3 water/person/year

Suomi: 1730 M3 water/person/year

United Kingdom: 1695 M3 water/person/year


The ‘corporate H2O footmark ‘ is the entire volume of fresh water that is either straight or indirectly used for transporting out concern activities. The Water Footprint for corporate organisation consists of two constituents: the direct usage of H2O by the manufacturer for back uping activities and the indirect usage of H2O during the supply concatenation procedure.


Water Footprint of Nations depicts the use of H2O for bring forthing the merchandises and services which are to be consumed by the citizen of that state. This Water Footprint has two constituents: the Internal Water Footprint and the External Water Footprint.

Internal Water Footprint refers to the requisition of domestic H2O resources and external Water Footprint refers to requisition of H2O resources in some other states. In Japan, 65 % of entire Water Footprint comes from other state.


Ecological Footprint, Carbon Footprint and Water Footprint are really of import accounting tool to mensurate bioproductive country ‘s capacity, C dioxide emanation and the use of fresh H2O. The effect of increased Carbon Footprint means more emanation of Green House gases which leads to Global Warming and climatic alterations. There have been noticeable alterations in the environment and the conditions in the past two decennaries. Human activities has severely hampered the chemical composing of the ambiance by rehearsing and utilizing merchandises that emit Green House Gases ( GHG ) .

The effect of GHG accretion is that the ambiance cover will consume and a cover of GHG will organize around the Earth. This will take to highly high temperature ensuing into thaw of icebergs and snow. The sea degree will lift enormously and will destruct everything. The high temperatures may besides spread out the comeuppances thereby changing the countryside for good. The early symptoms are already been seen such as alteration in the local clime, harvest outputs, human wellness, turning figure of diseases, and H2O supplies.

All persons must take the Carbon Footprint trial which is called the Carbon Calculator. The trial will assist in finding an single fond regard with C. Whatever be an person ‘s mark it is every human being ‘s duty to salvage the planet and to understate the release of Green House Gases. At single degree assorted activities can be taken to cut down an person ‘s Carbon Footprint.

At Corporate degree the organisation must follow a Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR ) Policy to which it will ever stay. A corporate must pattern and utilize such merchandises or stuffs which are eco friendly. The corporate must guarantee that all its employees take part in CSR activities and work together towards environmental sustainability. The Corporate must besides mensurate its Water Footprint and must ever refill the H2O beginning from where it has taken fresh H2O for its production of goods and services. Multinational Companies who can afford should construct up rain H2O reaping workss and sheds for societal public assistance. The Companies can themselves take enterprises to educate the people and better the society and put a way towards environmental sustainability.