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Carbon footprinting

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  1. Abstract.
  2. Introduction.
    1. The idea that climate change will alter the way that agents of infection distribute disease.
    2. Warmer temperatures and altered rainfall patterns.
  3. Heat and rain.
    1. The best defense against increases in infection.
    2. Flooding and the breeding habits of vectors and hosts.
  4. Carbon footprint, fossil fuels and climate change.
    1. Burning fossil fuels.
    2. The close relation between climate, environment and infectious disease.
    3. Decreasing one's carbon footprint.
    4. The conventional wisdom for reducing a carbon footprint.
    5. Energy efficiency and offsetting.
  5. The argument in favor of examining the carbon footprint.
    1. The existence of the greenhouse effect.
    2. The Second Assessment Report of the IPCC.
  6. Conclusion.

The nature of the carbon footprint is to examine human use of carbon and to try to apply it to how much greenhouse gas (converted to a scale based on CO2) is used. By discussing this, and viewing how "Climate change and infectious diseases in North America: the road ahead" discusses climate, it becomes obvious that the science and the opinions that guide discussion on environmental issues are rich and varied. Any and all predictions of what the global carbon footprint is doing to the planet involves conjecture. There are measurements and there are theories, but much of the "Climate change and infectious diseases in North America: the road ahead" study by Greer, Ng and Fisman involves hypothesizing and estimation because they do not give specific temperature estimates, though they do use some data based on temperature from other sources. This is not to say that their work is grounded on faulty science as much as to call it firmly entrenched in debatable science and estimations. Using this to talk about disease possibilities gives the article a hypothetical feel.

[...] The conventional wisdom for reducing a carbon footprint, as discussed, if one is to take the idea as sound and to accept that it sidesteps or overlooks the concept of causality and is more a direct and empirical measurement that is then used to imply damage or a cause and effect relationship to the environment via the greenhouse effect, is to take the measurement of the footprint and look for the easiest ways to decrease it. Minimizing it, then, is a matter of paring down one's energy usage to the basics. [...]

[...] At what rate will the human population--and its carbon footprint-- grow?" (Baird, 2006) This is interesting because it shows how unpredictable it is, even from a pro-environmentalist slant. Through the lens of carbon footprints, many people appear to be unaware that the increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases over the past century has been exponential. The idea that merely reducing the rate at which we burn fossil fuels can amount to a significant mitigation is, in itself, one of the potential problems we face. [...]

[...] Further, in most cases and throughout the article, the word "likely" is used quite frequently in the article because the entire premise that these factors will respond as predicted is based on mathematical modeling (which in this case involves entering potential temperatures because the exact amount of climate change that the carbon footprint of the world's population will potentially cause is unpredictable, in the sense of "unable to be accurately predicted") and extrapolating from much more stable gradations of temperature change. [...]

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