Cutting your own carbon footprint

At Havant Climate Alliance we’re determined to get real change from central and local governments to tackle the climate emergency but there’s a lot we can do as individuals too.

In May 2020 a team of international experts, including researchers at the University of Leeds, produced a new report. They screened nearly 7,000 studies from across the globe to develop a list of the most effective changes to household consumption to cut our carbon footprints.

Household activities account for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gases so the research team measured the potential for emissions cuts through changes in consumption of food, transport and housing.

You can see the top ten actions in this diagram.

Implementing all of the top 10 options would have a huge impact – cutting up to 9 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person, per year in a high-consuming, high-income context.

But it’s not easy. People can’t easily shift to low-carbon consumption. Responsibility starts at government level if the potential is to be realised fully. Think about car use which is often essential if public transport is poor. However, solutions don’t always require new technology.

Transport options have the highest potential for change, especially if people live car-free, shift to a battery electric vehicle and/or take fewer long-distance flights.

Diet changes are important too. Adopting a vegan diet has the biggest impact from a food perspective. With high levels of waste food in many countries considerations such as how food has been prepared, stored, produced and sourced are important.

Energy changes are vital. Investing in generating renewable electricity saves the most emissions from a housing point-of-view, with refurbishment and renovation to improve the insulation and energy efficiency of the home also making the top ten list. Focusing on energy demand reduction is a relatively easy way to cut emissions.

You can read the full article here.

There are more charts and figures on the BBC website

By Sue James

Figure: The most viable options for reducing your carbon footprint cover a range of options, from living car-free to installing renewable energy-based heating.

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