A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, place or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent.
Greenhouse gases, including the carbon-containing gases carbon dioxide and methane, can be emitted through the burning of fossil fuels, land clearance and the production and consumption of food, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, transportation, and other services. The term was popularized by a $250 million advertising campaign by the oil and gas company BP in an attempt to move public attention away from restricting the activities of fossil fuel companies and onto individual responsibility for solving climate change. In most cases, the total carbon footprint cannot be calculated exactly because of inadequate knowledge of and data about the complex interactions between contributing processes, including the influence of natural processes that store or release carbon dioxide.
History tells us that the climate is constantly changing and has done so for longer than we have kept records.
Currently we focus on climate change as occurring since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1820s. Due to humans’ heavy reliance on fossil fuels, energy usage, and constant deforestation, the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is increasing, which makes reducing a greenhouse gas footprint harder to achieve. This narrow focus only looks at what scientists insist is human caused climate change and does not take include the natural climate change that also continues to change the world’s climate. Placing the focus in this period of time will give humanity the guidance to change our contribution to carbon in the world’s atmosphere.
In the twenty first century our carbon footprints have not escaped the worlds polarizing political environment. These political issues will slow the corrections the world population needs to take to slow the human contribution to climate change. We as individuals have a responsibility to review our practices both personally and organizationally as we come together in work environments. As we better understand our carbon footprint, we can make required changes to reduce out foot size.
Agribusiness, whether production or supporting business, has a large roll to play as we move forward in reducing Green House Gases.
Populations are increasing and the demand to keep the world fed increases with the population. There are many growing technologies focused on assisting both increased food production and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere. The ability to change practices that aid in carbon reduction cross many current processes from the field to the cloud. Tillage and commodity selection start at the land level and information technology in the cloud all contribute to carbon reduction. Our digital transformation or fourth industrial revolution assist in farming equipment and in processing data from the grower, crop input companies, grain marketers, grain processors and transportation of raw commodities and finished goods.
Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration is one of several growing technologies adding agriculture keep pace with the world’s growing need for food and to protect the planet.
One farmer dogged pipeline surveyors as they traversed his southwestern Iowa fields, peppering them with unwelcome questions about their proposed project. Another cornered Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds at a fundraising event. A third painted “No Carbon Pipeline” on a semi-trailer and parked it at the intersection of two county roads. These and other activists – an unlikely mix of Bernie Bros, Fox News devotees, Women’s March veterans, and at least one Q-Anon follower – meet weekly on Zoom to plot strategy, write letters to the editor, and leave angry voicemails with state legislators.
In a state that ranks number one in corn production, with 57 percent of that crop going to ethanol, rocking the agricultural boat has been, historically, rare. But that era appears to be over. As Jess Mazour, conservation coordinator for the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, puts it, these protests are “the biggest thing to happen to Iowa in a long time.”
The Truth About Ethanol and Carbon Emissions
There’s been a lot of talk—and a lot of confusion—recently about corn ethanol’s carbon footprint. Before being retracted due to “flawed interpretation of data” and “inaccurate estimates of carbon emissions,” a September 8 Reuters article initially asserted that the carbon emissions related to making ethanol are worse than the emissions from making gasoline.
How could that be? How could Reuters possibly reach that initial conclusion before withdrawing their story? What’s the truth?