Final month’s dire report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change might have left you feeling overwhelmed, or uncertain what to do subsequent. We regularly hear about methods on a regular basis folks 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: residence power use, transport, and meals consumption. Collectively, these actions comprise about 85% of a family’s carbon footprint.
As one research confirmed, by adopting available practices, households in developed international locations can minimize their carbon footprint by 25% with little or no discount in well-being.
Clearly, nationwide governments should set, and meet, formidable emissions-reduction targets. However 72% of worldwide greenhouse fuel emissions are associated to family consumption. So small modifications on the family degree actually could make a world of distinction. Right here’s a information to get you on the proper path.
Utilizing power within the residence extra effectively is an effective strategy to cut back your influence on the local weather. Signing as much as so-called “demand response” packages is a comparatively new means to do that.
Demand response entails making modifications to power use to cut 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 so that they use much less power at peak occasions.
For instance in Queensland, the state-owned firm Energex affords as much as A$400 to those that set up a “PeakSmart” air conditioner. When the electrical energy system is beneath stress, the electrical energy community will remotely swap the air-conditioner right into a decrease efficiency mode.
Vitality retailers have additionally been trialling demand response packages in different states. For instance beneath AGL’s Peak Vitality Rewards program, prospects can select to obtain an SMS message prompting them to cut back their power use at peak occasions. By turning up the temperature on the air con or ready to do the laundry, folks can earn reductions on their power 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 minimize greenhouse fuel emissions within the electrical energy sector.
When you drive a standard petrol or diesel automobile, attempt to cut back the period of time your engine idles. Analysis 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 vehicles from the street.
Whereas some idling is unavoidable comparable to when stopped at site 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 discovered to considerably cut back emissions.
You is perhaps pondering of creating your subsequent automotive an electrical automobile. Whereas the price of electrical autos has historically been prohibitive for many individuals, the know-how is anticipated to achieve value parity with standard vehicles in Australia within the subsequent few years. And as of late, you’ll be able to even get an excellent second-hand deal.
There’s numerous misinformation on the market about whether or not electrical vehicles are a good selection 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 commonly sourced from fossil fuels. And power remains to be required to make an electrical automobile – particularly, the battery.
Need an electrical automotive? This is how one can purchase second-hand
Nonetheless, final yr, analysis present in 95% of the world, electrical autos had been much less emissions-intensive than conventional vehicles over their full life cycle – even accounting for the present emissions depth of electrical energy technology.
When you purchase an electrical automobile, it’s vital to make sure potential emissions financial savings are realised. A method of doing that is by recharging throughout the center of the day when renewable electricty is most considerable. And don’t neglect, as renewable power types an ever-increasing share of the electrical energy combine, the local weather advantages of electrical autos turn into even larger.
And naturally, don’t neglect in regards to the apparent low- or zero-emission methods to get round: strolling, biking, catching public transport and automotive pooling.
Good Automotive Co
Analysis earlier this yr confirmed meals programs are chargeable for a 3rd of human-caused greenhouse fuel emissions. And up to date research present 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.
Decreasing meat consumption is a widely known strategy to minimize your carbon footprint. Actually, latest analysis 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.
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In Australia, the vary of meat alternate options is rising rapidly. In only one instance, Sydney-based All G Meals is creating plant-based mince, sausages, hen 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.
One other meals that guarantees to assist minimize your carbon footprint is seaweed. Australia is barely simply catching on to the advantages of economic seaweed manufacturing, which might be grown with few environmental prices.
Australia’s first manufacturing facility manufacturing food-grade seaweed merchandise opened in New South Wales final yr. It has the capability to place seaweed into pastas, and even muesli!
Scale back, reuse, encourage
Decreasing 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 when you can’t keep away from it, try to purchase second-hand.
You by no means know, you may begin a revolution. Proof suggests individuals who observe their friends endeavor environmentally pleasant behaviour typically undertake related actions.
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Andreas Chai works for Griffith College. His analysis has been beforehand funded by NCCARF, UNIDO, Queensland Authorities, APEC and the French Ministry of Schooling. Andreas Chai is a member of the Economics Society of Australia.