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Last month’s dire report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could have left you feeling overwhelmed, or uncertain what to do subsequent. We typically hear about methods on a regular basis individuals can deal with local weather change, however which acts will make the largest distinction?
The tutorial literature tells us three spheres of our lives contribute most to local weather change: dwelling vitality use, transport, and meals consumption. Together, these actions comprise about 85% of a family’s carbon footprint.
As one study confirmed, by adopting available practices, households in developed nations can reduce their carbon footprint by 25% with little or no discount in well-being.
Clearly, nationwide governments should set, and meet, bold emissions-reduction targets. But 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated to family consumption. So small adjustments on the family stage actually could make a world of distinction. Here’s a information to get you on the suitable path.
Using vitality within the dwelling extra effectively is an effective method to scale back your impression on the local weather. Signing as much as so-called “demand response” applications is a comparatively new means to do that.
Demand response includes making adjustments to vitality use to scale back stress on the electrical energy grid throughout occasions of excessive demand. In Australia, this typically entails electrical energy firms providing monetary incentives to households in order that they use much less vitality at peak occasions.
For instance in Queensland, the state-owned firm Energex offers up to A$400 to those that set up a “PeakSensible” air conditioner. When the electrical energy system is underneath stress, the electrical energy community will remotely swap the air-conditioner right into a decrease efficiency mode.
Energy retailers have additionally been trialling demand response applications in different states. For instance underneath AGL’s Peak Energy Rewards program, prospects can select to obtain an SMS message prompting them to scale back their vitality use at peak occasions. By turning up the temperature on the air con or ready to do the laundry, individuals can earn reductions on their vitality payments.
Demand response results in much less electrical energy use and reduces the necessity for fossil-fuel electrical energy technology at occasions of excessive demand – and so, can reduce greenhouse fuel emissions within the electrical energy sector.
If you drive a standard petrol or diesel automobile, attempt to scale back the period of time your engine idles. Research final yr discovered Australian motorists are more likely to idle greater than 20% of the time they’re driving. If idling was eradicated from all journeys, the emissions saved would equal that of eradicating as much as 1.6 million automobiles from the street.
While some idling is unavoidable similar to when stopped at visitors lights, drivers can flip their engines off whereas parked and ready of their automobile.
And drive easily, not aggressively. Driving with restricted acceleration and braking has been found to considerably scale back emissions.
You may be considering of constructing your subsequent automotive an electrical automobile. While the price of electrical automobiles has historically been prohibitive for many individuals, the expertise is expected to reach value parity with typical automobiles in Australia within the subsequent few years. And nowadays, you possibly can even get a great second-hand deal.
There’s a whole lot of misinformation on the market about whether or not electrical automobiles are a sensible choice for the planet. So the place does the reality lie?
It’s true that electrical energy used to cost an electrical automobile’s battery is usually sourced from fossil fuels. And vitality remains to be required to make an electrical automobile – particularly, the battery.
However, final yr, research found in 95% of the world, electrical automobiles have been much less emissions-intensive than conventional automobiles over their full life cycle – even accounting for the present emissions depth of electrical energy technology.
If you purchase an electrical automobile, it’s vital to make sure potential emissions financial savings are realised. One means of doing that is by recharging in the course of the center of the day when renewable electricty is most abundant. And don’t neglect, as renewable vitality kinds an ever-increasing share of the electrical energy combine, the local weather advantages of electrical automobiles grow to be even better.
And after all, don’t neglect concerning the apparent low- or zero-emission methods to get round: strolling, biking, catching public transport and automotive pooling.
Research earlier this yr confirmed meals techniques are liable for a 3rd of human-caused greenhouse fuel emissions. And recent studies show even when the world stopped burning fossil fuels instantly, emissions from the worldwide meals system may nonetheless push international temperatures over the 1.5? warming threshold.
Reducing meat consumption is a widely known means to cut your carbon footprint. In reality, recent research from Sweden confirmed simply how excessive emissions from meat and dairy merchandise are, in contrast with substitute merchandise. It discovered:
- lamb is 25 occasions extra polluting than tofu
- milk is 5 occasions as polluting as oat drink
- dairy-based cheese is 4 occasions as polluting as vegan cheese.
Related Post: 10 Practical Tips For Going Vegan
In Australia, the vary of meat alternate options is rising rapidly. In only one instance, Sydney-based All G Foods is growing plant-based mince, sausages, rooster and bacon, in addition to “cow-free” dairy merchandise. Helped alongside by $5 million in federal authorities funding, the corporate’s first product launches this month.
Another meals that guarantees to assist reduce your carbon footprint is seaweed. Australia is just simply catching on to the advantages of business seaweed manufacturing, which may be grown with few environmental prices.
Australia’s first manufacturing unit manufacturing food-grade seaweed merchandise opened in New South Wales final yr. It has the capability to place seaweed into pastas, and even muesli!
Reduce, reuse, encourage
Reducing your local weather footprint isn’t just about shopping for “inexperienced” stuff: it’s additionally about avoiding consumption within the first place. So attempt to purchase much less – and should you can’t keep away from it, attempt to purchase second-hand.
You by no means know, you may begin a revolution. Evidence suggests individuals who observe their friends enterprise environmentally pleasant behaviour typically undertake comparable actions.
Cover picture by Bruna Branco.