Scientists know greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change, but what causes greenhouse gas emissions in the first place? We assessed how many greenhouse gases are released to support the lifestyles of people living in different parts of Europe – in other words, we figured out people’s carbon footprint. We found that different lifestyle choices resulted in very different carbon footprints. In general, people with higher incomes (who bought more things and traveled more) had much higher carbon footprints than people who lived more modestly. Understanding how our purchases affect greenhouse gas emissions is an important step to designing policies and guidelines for cutting emissions and addressing climate change.

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Summary of research
Scientists wanted to find out how consumption in our everyday life affects climate change.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
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Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
November 2017

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