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Environment: treading lightly on the Earth
Environment: treading lightly on the Earth

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2 Not all footprints are equally heavy

You’ve just read some information about the average carbon footprint of a UK individual or household. But the footprint of a particular individual or household depends on the amounts and types of energy, food, and other goods and services they consume. This means that their carbon footprint depends on where they live, the type of home they live in, their income, values and lifestyle. Thus, carbon footprints of individuals and households vary widely within a country and also between different countries, but especially between rich, developed countries (e.g. the UK), newly industrialised countries (e.g. China), and poor developing countries (e.g. Uganda).

For individual or household carbon footprints, the average (or more correctly, the mean) footprint within a country is usually given (see Study note: Averages – mean and median). These average (mean) values show the variations in carbon footprints between different countries, but conceal the wide variations within each country.