Carbon footprint, what global distribution?

12 June 2023 | digital pollution

The carbon dioxide (CO2) is 1 of the greenhouse gases the most emitted in the world. Yet the greenhouse effect is the main source of the current environmental imbalance. Naturally emitted in nature, it is also important in humans’ activities, in particular those related to the combustion of fossil energies (petrol, gas, coal) or naturals such as wood. In order to complete the reduction objectives of emissions, it is important to evaluate the distribution of carbon emissions on a global scale, so everyone can take the necessary measures.

What is the carbon footprint?

The first step is essentially in the struggle against the global warming is to know the bad effects of carbon emission and to reduce the quantity. Knowing is carbon footprint the first necessary step. But what is it? The carbon footprints of a house, an organism, of a company or a public administration is the amount of greenhouse gases emissions generated by the latter on a year. With Greenoco, by example, you can know the carbon footprint of a website.

The personal carbon footprint

It’s a tool allowing companies to measure their carbon footprint. With this tool made by the ADEME, houses have the opportunity to put a number of their greenhouse gasses productions all along the year. It needs to consider these precise elements during the evaluation:  

  •         CO2 emissions by cars ;
  •         Energetic consumption of the house ;
  •         The emission of carbon dioxide by using fossils energies ;
  •         The heating of the house ;
  •         The technique of waste gestion ;

Anyways, it’s important to consider all activities and household habits that emit carbon dioxide.

Companies carbon footprint

The carbon footprint is a calculation methodology made by the Environmental and Energy Management Agency or ADEME. This calculation tool is fully at the disposition of companies that decide to integrate a CSR policy (Corporate Social Responsibility).

The carbon footprint measures the direct or indirect emission of CO2. However, the calculation methodology is different for every sector of activity to evaluate. In this case, the calculation tool of global emissions of CO2, in kilograms per tons per year.

The importance on the carbon footprint calculation

The struggle against an excessive emission of CO2 needs to go through the evaluation of the quantity of carbon emitted by the human being and his activities. The relative balance sheet of carbon emission and to other GHG would be useful as a starting point to push particulars, as companies, to reduce them.

The carbon footprint calculation is also a way to evaluate the impact of an organization, a product of any activity on the environment. Companies and organizations that would be responsible for important emissions for a low societal benefit would certainly be in trouble in the years to come, it is so a real interest to act now to reduce them.

What is the CO2 emissions distribution due to the combustion of energy by activity sectors?

Some sectors of production know important CO2 emissions. In order to finally reduce GHG emissions, it needs first to know the sectors of activities the most concerned.

The electricity production

The electricity production is at the first rank of the most CO2 emitter. 43% of GHG emissions are linked to the global level in this sector. These emissions come mainly from the combustion of fossil carbon energies to generate some vapor that makes the turbines work, creating electricity. The huge use of coal, gas and petrol to produce electricity is the main cause of emissions.

10 to 15% of global electricity is currently consumed by the digital users, such as data centers, network infrastructure, and terminals.


It represents 25% of CO2 emissions in the world. Here again the use of fuel, diesel or electricity made by fossil sources, are responsible for these emissions.

Aviation represents about 2% of the global CO2 emissions, and the maritime transportation as much as the aviation.

The industry and the construction

The sector of the production of goods and services, of houses construction, roads and infrastructures represents 19% CO2 emissions at a global level.

The digital sector

The digital sector is very energy consuming. Between 4 to 8% of greenhouse gas in the world comes from the use of informatics and internet ways. The electricity consumption of data centers represents half of the consumption of the electricity sector. The conception of informatics materials is also consuming an important quantity of fossil energies, materials and minerals resources, making again increasing the carbon footprint in almost all manufacturers of digital products. Discover our article on the unsuspicious impacts of digital pollution.

The agricultural sector

The mechanization of agriculture and the use of agricultural and forestry machinery are very consuming in fossil energies. Yet their use is unavoidable when we’re talking about modern agriculture. In France, agriculture and breeding are the second human activity making the most GHG. They generate more than 23% of greenhouse gas emitted in the country.

The most emitters countries of GHG

Reducing the carbon emissions is still a real challenge for a good number of countries. Global emissions of CO2 are very important. In 2020, they reach 32 billion tons of CO2. Besides, the increase of GHG emissions is directly linked to the economic productivity of some strong countries. But what are the countries that pollute the most and that can’t reduce their GHG emissions significantly?


Indeed, China he’s on top of the board with the emission of 9.9 billion tons of CO2. The exportation of goods of consumption is the main cause of these emissions, China has become the main factory of the world. But these emissions coming from coal electric centrals are as much important as the carbon emissions linked to the goods production. In order to power the factories and the important population of the country, the need of an energy using mainly coal is still yet too common.


The USA emits 4.5 billion tons of CO2 per year. For 37% these emissions come from the transportation, 36% of the electricity production, and 9% of the industry and the construction. The huge use of fossil energies is still the main responsible of these emissions.


India, the second most populated country emits 2.3 billion tons of CO2 per year. The abundance of textiles industries is the main cause and it is currently very hard for a country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, the growth of the population, the economic development and an industrial base that pollutes make a fast evolution hard.  

What is the digital carbon footprint?

The need for the Internet by billions of people constantly is not without consequences on all the environment and ecosystems. Indeed, the huge use of the Internet is bad for the environment. Simply because every digital action as watching video, saving into the clouds, emails, the use of social networks and all the other stuffs that are very energy consuming. These actions are automatically increasing the CO2 emissions because they need the use of “data centers” that consume a lot of energy.

For these reasons, think about adopting the next steps to reduce digital emissions.

Optimize the carbon emissions of your website

If you lead a company, an administration, or that you are editing a website, you must adopt the techniques of optimization of a site. Because every visitor of your website needs the use of servers and so they’re consuming energy. But by optimizing resources of your website, you will reduce its carbon footprint, even increasing its performances. Discover the measure solution and the reduction of carbon emissions of websites and realize a free test of carbon emissions measure of a web page.

Recycling or fixing instead of buying

The length of use of technological devices needs to be longer in order to avoid the renewal of purchase and the excess production. The choice of a second-hand device is also an eco-responsible gesture to preserve the environment. This greatly limits the process of manufacturing of digital companies.

Use more storage is and locals networks

The use of the clouds is also to limit if we care about reducing the greenhouse gas emission coming from the digital sector. One of the solutions is adopting local storage, inside of a hard disk by example. The use of Wi-Fi is also better compared to mobile networks because it allows to consume less energy and so reduces digital carbon footprint. Besides, some gestures look like they are normal, but they are very important in the suppression of every content of reception boxes. This allows to free the memory and the disk space, also to reduce energy consumption.

More activities, less screens

Indeed, when we are always in front of screens, in addition to emitting GHG, we don’t think anymore about going out or doing some activities. Therefore, try to reduce watching some videos content and rather audio. If you really need to watch a video, reduce its resolution.

In conclusion the struggle against GHG emissions is in the hands of all users and all companies and organizations. The sources of CO2 emissions are multiples and distributed all over the world. In order to reduce global warming, and to preserve a living world for our future generation, it’s important to act with every possible lever. And the parts of the digital carbon footprint aren’t negligible. It is in all the interests of solutions such as Greenoco, allowing to reach a certain digital sobriety and to reduce the Internet and digital carbon emissions.

Développer des solutions numériques

engagées pour le climat

What is the carbon impact of towns’ websites?

What is the carbon impact of towns’ websites?

What are the challenges of towns against digital pollution? Nowadays, in France, 67% of carbon emissions are realized in urban areas. According to recent report, towns would have the capacity to reduce their carbon footprint of 90% by 2050. This touches many uses,...

read more
Greenoco on ChangeNOW 2023: the team testifies

Greenoco on ChangeNOW 2023: the team testifies

What is ChangeNOW? ChangeNow gathers every year concrete and innovative global solutions to face the greatest global challenges. More than 30.000 visitors on 3 days, at Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.  Every year, the top gathers many...

read more