What are greenhouse gases?
Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases, or GHG. These gases are present in the atmosphere naturally, keeping our planet's surface at a comfortable temperature. However, human-driven activities like burning fossil fuels have drastically increased the concentration of these GHGs, specifically carbon dioxide and methane. Once in the atmosphere, GHGs act as a blanket, trapping heat in the planet's surface. This trapped heat leads to what is know as global warming - the average global increase in temperature, and consequently, a changing climate.
What are carbon emissions?
When we talk about 'carbon emissions,' we're focusing specifically on carbon dioxide, the primary GHG emitted through human activities. During the reporting process, the various GHGs are converted into one metric - carbon emissions - for ease of understanding. When carbon emissions are measured, they are reported by type - or scope. There are three scopes of carbon emissions we consider when calculating IUPUI's carbon footprint: scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3.