What Are Carbon Emissions

July 13, 2018
Read time: 3 Minutes

Everyone is talking about reducing their carbon footprint. But what does that even mean?

It’s certainly a buzz word in the energy industry: carbon footprint. And though it’s pretty easy to use in a sentence, many can’t give a simple description of what exactly a carbon footprint entails.

The phrase “carbon footprint” refers to the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to fossil fuel consumption. But what does that mean?

First thing’s first: Let’s talk about carbon.

Carbon is an element. What’s more, carbon is the most common element for life. Our bodily chemical makeup, the air we breathe, the crops we grow – all of them use carbon to run.

But when we talk about carbon emissions, we’re talking about carbon dioxide (CO2) being released into the atmosphere. CO2 absorbs radiation and prevents heat from escaping the atmosphere, which can create change in weather patterns, temperature averages, and the climate.

Because carbon dioxide is everywhere, the earth knows how to keep it in balance for the most part. It is crucial to the earth’s life cycle. What we mean by that is that plants and animals (and humans obviously) release CO2 when they breathe; plants and animals release more CO2 when they decompose; plants absorb CO2 through photosynthesis; and oceans absorb just as much CO2 as they release.

Unlike plants and animals, humans emit more CO2 than they take in.

When we use fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and natural gas, those fossil fuels release large enough amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere – so much so, that the earth’s natural processes can’t keep up. What’s incredibly staggering is that electricity generation is responsible for nearly 34% of the total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions (1,744 million metric tons of 5,140 million metric tons).

But wait, there’s more.

On top of using those fossil fuels, we’re also cutting down large amounts of CO2-absorbing trees, which emit even more CO2 when they’re burned or when they decompose.

Nature can only handle so much CO2.

That’s where the whole “reducing your carbon footprint” thing comes in. There are plenty of things you can do to reduce your impact on the earth. One of those ways is by getting your electricity from renewable sources, like wind, solar, and water.

At IGS Energy, we are proud to offer our go greenTM fixed electricity product. When you enroll in our go green product, we’ll make sure that for every kWh of electricity you use, a kWh from a renewable source is put on the grid, reducing the amount of energy generated from non-renewable fossil fuels.


Click here to learn more about our go green products!