Two workers measuring the circumference of a tree.
Carbon monitoring Carbon monitoring in forest one of the land use types that WAC (ICRAF (now World Agroforestry Centre or WAC) carbon measurement project). © © Bridget Besaw 2009

What is a carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions.

The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the average carbon footprint is closer to 4 tons. To have the best chance of avoiding a 2℃ rise in global temperatures, the average global carbon footprint per year needs to drop to under 2 tons by 2050.

Lowering individual carbon footprints from 16 tons to 2 tons doesn’t happen overnight! By making small changes to our actions, like eating less meat, taking fewer connecting flights and line drying our clothes, we can start making a big difference.

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint