Individual action on climate change
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Making various personal choices has been advocated as a means of fighting climate change.
- A carbon diet is an effective way to understand the amount of impact on the environment and how to make meaningful changes.
- A low carbon diet is a way of reducing impact by choosing food that causes much less pollution.
- Trees: Protecting forests and planting new trees contributes to the absorption of carbon dioxide from the air. There are many opportunities to plant trees in the yard, along roads, in parks, and in public gardens. In addition, some charities plant fast-growing trees—for as little as $US0.10 per tree—to help people in tropical developing countries restore the productivity of their lands. Conversely, clearing old-growth forests adds to the carbon in the atmosphere, so buying non-old-growth paper is good for the climate as well as the forest.
- Labels: The Energy Star label can be seen on many household appliances, home electronics, office equipment, heating and cooling equipment, windows, residential light fixtures, and other products. Energy Star products use less energy.
- In the United States, perception towards climate change influenced people to change their travel lifestyle. More than a third of Americans have changed their travel habits in 2008, versus only 14% in 2007.
- Cars: Purchasing a vehicle which gets high gas mileage helps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.
- Flying: Avoiding air travel and particularly frequent flyer programs has a high benefit because the convenience makes frequent, long distance travel easy, and high-altitude emissions are more potent for the climate than the same emissions made at ground level.
- Walking and running are the least impactful modes of transportation, followed by the bicycle.
- Many energy suppliers in various countries worldwide have options to purchase part or pure "green energy." The wind energy produced in Denmark, for example, provides about 20 percent of the country's total electricity needs. These methods of energy production emit no greenhouse gases once they are up and running.
- Carbon offsets: The principle of carbon offset is thus: one decides that they don't want to be responsible for accelerating climate change, and they've already made efforts to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, so they decide to pay someone else to further reduce their net emissions by planting trees or by taking up low-carbon technologies. Every unit of carbon that is absorbed by trees—or not emitted due to your funding of renewable energy deployment—offsets the emissions from their fossil fuel use. In many cases, funding of renewable energy, energy efficiency, or tree planting — particularly in developing nations—can be a relatively cheap way of making an individual "carbon neutral". Carbon offset providers—some as inexpensive as US$0.11 per metric ton (USD 0.10 per US ton) of carbon dioxide—are referenced below under Lifestyle Action.
- Using less animal products: The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization reports that rearing livestock contributes more greenhouse gases than all fossil fuel burning combined. A 2006 study from the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago found the difference between a vegan diet and red meat diet is equivalent to driving a sedan compared to a sport utility vehicle.
- 350.org, Step It Up 2007 and International Day of Climate Action
- Avoiding dangerous climate change
- Carbon Diet
- Climate change mitigation scenarios
- The Cool War
- The Great Warming
- Indian Youth Climate Network
- Individual and political action on climate change
- Low Carbon Diet
- Low-carbon economy
- No Impact Man (Colin Beavan)
- One Watt Initiative
- Personal carbon credits
- UK Youth Climate Coalition
- Heede, Richard (2002-04-09). "Household Solutions" (PDF). Rocky Mountain Institute. Retrieved 2007-07-07.
As we'll see below, homeowners can take a measured approach to emissions reduction, gradually saving and investing small amounts of capital, and far exceed the U.S.'s Kyoto Protocol commitment to reduce all emissions of greenhouse gases to 7 per cent below 1990 emissions by 2012.
- Is 'green' the new black?
- "Wind energy". Risø National Laboratory. Retrieved 2007-07-07.
- Steinfeld, Henning et al. (2006). "Livestock's long shadow. Environmental issues and options" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Livestock, Environment and Development (LEAD) Initiative. Retrieved 2007-03-30.
- Tady, Megan (2006-12-07). "Meat Contributes to Climate Change, UN Study Confirms" (CFM). The New Standard. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- Eshel, Gidon; Martin, Pamela A. (2005-04-15). "Diet, Energy, and Global Warming" (PDF). Earth Interactions 10: 1–17. doi:10.1175/EI167.1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2007-03-28.