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31 Mar 2022

Do you know where the term ‘carbon footprint’ comes from?

Pippy Stephenson

According to The Carbon Footprint Sham by Mark Kaufman, an article published by Mashable, BP hired advertisers to popularise the term ‘carbon footprint’ to place the blame for global warming on the public,  not fossil fuel companies. 

In 2004 BP launched a ‘carbon footprint calculator’ so that everyday people could see what impact they are having on the planet. Now we see the term ‘carbon footprint’ everywhere. Although it is important to make better environmental choices in your life, no matter what we do as individuals, if companies like BP maintain their current carbon emissions nothing will change. 

Kaufman spoke to researchers from MIT who calculated the carbon footprint of a homeless person and found that despite having no home and no job, a homeless individual would still emit 8.5 tons of carbon dioxide per year. This is because we live in a society powered by fossil fuels, by companies like BP. No individual can live sustainably while everything we rely on is using fossil fuels. This is what is so shocking about BP’s carbon footprint calculator, it says it’s our responsibility, yet even if we agreed with them we would get nowhere. 

If you’d like to learn about this in more detail, read the article here!