Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Everybody has a carbon footprint. But our carbon footprint can vary hugely depending on where you live, how wealthy you are and your overall lifestyle. Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere as a result of your activities. This is thought to be one of the leading contributions to climate change. You can change your carbon footprint with some very easy and virtually cost-free steps! So we've found the ultimate resources to help you reduce your everyday carbon footprint.

 
 
 

Stats from 2013 detailing the carbon emissions of multiple countries.

 

Country

Co² emissions (kt*)  (2013)

Emissions per person (T) (2013)

World

35,669,000

5.0

China

10,540,000

7.6

United States

5,334,000

16.5

India

2,341,000

1.8

Germany

767,000

9.3

Brazil

501,000

2.5

United Kingdom

415,000

6.5

Australia

409,000

17.3

United Arab Emirates

201,000

21.3

Nigeria

94,000

0.5

1 KT = 1000 Tonnes Stats from 2013


 

Food and Drink

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When you think about reducing your carbon footprint, you probably don't think about food at all. Why would food increase your carbon footprint? Well, different diets have various different effects on your carbon footprint. For example, a meat eater's carbon footprint will be around 3.3t CO² emissions compared to 1.5t CO² emissions of a vegan. The CO² equivalent is different for each piece of food, meats cause more emissions than rice. While we could say the best way to reduce your carbon footprint with food is to become a vegan, we won't (because for a lot of us, that's unrealistic - we enjoy our food too much).

 

Here are some great resources that you should also check out:

 

The Tricky Truth About Food Miles

How To Reduce Your Food Foodprint

Foods Carbon Footprint​

Diet and Your Carbon Footprint​

The Carbon Footprint of 5 Diets Compared​

 
 
 
 
 

Driving

Most cars now come with carbon emission ratings. This rating tells you the emissions generated per kilometre or mile of driving a car. Cars are one of the leading causes of carbon emissions. With around 1.2 billion cars in the world today, the carbon emissions given off are on average around 7-8bt per year (Billion Tonnes) - Around 6 tonnes per car, per year. There is now a huge push towards greener and more fuel efficient cars, but for now, how can you reduce your carbon emissions by driving?

Here are some great resources that you should check out:

How To Reduce A Car's Emissions

7 Ways To Reduce Your Driving Emissions

Reducing Your Carbon Emissions while Driving


Home

At home, we probably all reduce our carbon footprint slightly without realising, more in an attempt to save money than reduce our footprint but we also forget about plenty of other ways we can do both! Just small simple tasks around the house will help you save in both departments.

Here are a few useful resources that you should check out:

​How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home

​What You Can Do To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint At Home

How To Reduce Your Home's Carbon Footprint​

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: At Home

 

Travel

Travelling abroad is another huge contribution to carbon emissions worldwide. While you can't really ask the pilot to slow down during a flight to save fuel, you can do a few smaller things to ensure you keep your carbon emissions while travelling as low as possible. 

Here are a few simple resources to check out:

Make Your Trips More Environmentally Friendly

Travel Sustainability​

Save Money and Reduce Carbon Emissions From Travel

Cutting Your Carbon Emissions While Travelling

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Office

In the office, we probably waste a lot of unnecessary energy and add to carbon emissions a lot. Leaving computers on and various pieces of equipment plugged in even when we haven't used them in a week. It's easy to forget about these things because they're all so natural; in an office work environment.

Here are some quick resources to check out:

What Can You Do To Reduce Emission In The Office

10 Steps To Reduce Emissions at the Office​

​6 Ways To Reduce Your Company's Carbon Footprint

Reducing Your Office Carbon Emissions​

 
 
 
 
 
 

Now you know where you can reduce your carbon emissions by performing the simple tasks every day!

 
 
 
 
 

Paris Climate Change Conference: The Dummies Guide

What are the challenges facing nations?

BUILDING CONSENSUS 

This is one of the largest gatherings of countries in recent history, with nearly 200 nation states taking part over the course of nearly two weeks. One of the greatest challenges facing the assembled nations will be building a consensus about how prevent further rises in global temperatures - assembled countries will need to ensure that temperatures do not exceed 2 degrees (above pre-industrial levels). 

creATING long-term goals 

The Paris conference cannot achieve positive action on climate change alone; it will need to set a precedent for future climate talks. These will need to include holding countries to account on harmful emissions, binding nations to making deeper cuts in emissions at a later date, and an understanding that developing nations will receive funding to help them go green. 

FINANCE 

The question of finance remains the biggest "elephant in the room" hanging over the Paris negotiations. The question of exactly how to encourage nations to make that decisive shift from fossil fuels to greener forms of energy will be a significant one. New finance is essential if developing nations are to make the leap, and some have already complained about the lack of action from the richer nations. 

Finance initiatives have already been unveiled; Microsoft founder and entrepreneur Bill Gates has already pledged $1 billion for new energy research and development. Additionally, France and India have unveiled a plan to mobilise $1 trillion for solar power to help some of the world's poorer countries.  

The issue of legality 

Another question hanging over the talks is whether the accord will be legally binding - this would prevent countries from backsliding on their commitments at some point in the future. 

Disputes over accountability have caused problems at previous climate change summits; for example, at the 1997 Kyoto talks, developing nations were not legally bound to the same targets as rich nations.

Likewise, a deal brokered by President Obama at the Copenhagen summit in 2009 failed to achieve any meaningful outcome.  With only a year of Obama's presidency left, there are fears that the progress his government has made in the past six years could be reversed by a new president. 

India 

India is one of the key obstacles in this round of climate change talks, which is especially remarkable, since it has much to lose from further potential climate change. 

Yet India argues that its growing population and the need to provide electricity to the 30 million Indians who lack it, mean that new coal-fired power stations are needed to supplement existing sources of electricity.  

India's greenhouse gas emissions are set to increase in real terms, estimated to reach 30 billion tonnes by the year 2030. In essence, India are asking for "carbon space" to allow them to develop their economy as other nations have before them. ​

According to the International Energy Agency, India will need to invest $140 billion in a year on any number of infrastructure projects, including modernising its energy grid, and improving technology for burning coal.

Therefore, whilst India is one of the leading global economies in terms of economic output, it also stands to one of the greatest obstacles to any binding agreement. ​

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