We cannot draw lines around ourselves and allocate blame to individuals
In terms of reproductive fitness the carbon footprint is a brilliant concept. It is an idea containing every element necessary for viral success.
It individualises the problem, which redirects attention from politics to lifestyles, ensuring the problem remains. It also creates a new angle for product marketing, which shifts from "price and quality" to "price and quality and new attribute/moral status". It creates a self-sustaining industry of consultants available to measure an organisation's carbon footprint and advise on how to reduce it (or at least shift it to Scope 3/indirect emissions which are not typically reported). It also allows for individualised blame, which allows people otherwise lacking in coherent identity to define themselves and to self-actualise (to a point).
With this column you are effectively critiquing the musical merits of Baby Shark.
"Unfortunately with greenhouse gas emissions, we don’t have a clear understanding of the problem—after all, the fact that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising doesn’t automatically make it a problem. "
The people studying it seem to think they have a fairly good understanding.
It gets even more ridiculous: capitalism penalises individuals for making sustainable "lifestyle choices". If a sustainable product becomes more popular, the price rises! So we make carbon an individual problem, then penalise those who choose to do something about it.
Capitalism is all about sustaining itself, not the planet. Unfortunately for all of us, the planet will win.
I agree about the ambiguity, but why use the work "blame?"
Continually using the word 'blame' comes across as a perjorative approach to what is an attempt to answer the question what is the carbon-equivalent content of product x or product y - information that is needed to be able to judge which is better in terms of climate change mitigation - product x or product y?