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A carbon footprint is a measure of the environmental impact of an organization, event, person or product. It measures the total green house gas (GHG) emissions of a given activity or group of activities to provide a measure of the extent to which these activities produce harmful emissions and therefore contribute to global warming.
It is estimated that computing produces up to 3 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, the carbon footprint has become an important measure in computing.
The concept of carbon footprint is derived from the ecological footprint discussion. The total amount of GHG emissions produced by various sources is generally expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide emitted. The footprint refers to the total emissions of carbon dioxide produced by various human activities in a given time frame, usually a year.
Once a carbon footprint has been calculated, efforts can be made reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These can include better process and product management, technological developments, carbon capture, and consumption modification strategies. Furthermore, projects such as solar and wind wind energy or reforestation can also be executed to reduce GHGs. Cloud computing is also considered to an important step toward greener computing.