A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact that our activities have on the environment, and in particular on climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc., which all contribute to global warming.
The carbon footprint is therefore a measurement of all greenhouse gases we produce and has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent. It can be measured at a variety of levels, for individuals, products, events, organizations and countries. The emissions measured are emissions from activities that we have direct control over, i.e. the electricity and fuel that we use, and indirect emissions from the life cycle of products that we use. Our carbon footprints are therefore essentially influenced by all the choices we make in our homes, offices, our travel, the food we eat, and what we buy and throw away.
Cayman Islands Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
The UK is party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. To meet its obligations under this it must report on all UK Greenhouse Gas emissions annually. The Cayman Islands had the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol extended to it through the UK in March 2007, and provides information for Greenhouse Gas emissions reporting, so data for the Cayman Islands can be included in the UK total emissions figure submitted to the UNFCCC.
The Department of Environment collects data on electricity generation and fuel consumption, to forward to Aether Consulting in the UK, which uses the raw data to calculate equivalent greenhouse gas emissions produced, based on assumed emissions factors for the electricity generated by CUC and fuel used in road transport. Data is also collected and submitted on solvent use, waste management, mobile machinery, aircraft and air transport, shipping and agriculture and forestry.
The results from AEA show that by far the most significant greenhouse gas produced by the Cayman Islands is carbon dioxide (CO2), with amounts of other greenhouse gases produced, e.g. methane and sulphur dioxide, being small in comparison. According to their analysis, in 2007 the Cayman Islands emitted 726,000 tonnes of CO2. The biggest contributor to this figure is the power sector, which was responsible for 65% of the total CO2 emissions from 2007. At 2014, this figure remained relatively static at approximately 714,000 tonnes of CO2.
The graph below Greenhouse Gas Emissions by sector (1990 to 2014)
The graph below shows Greenhouse Gas Emissions by gas (1990 to 2014) Source: Aether, 11 Feb 2016