Greenhouse gases are emitted through the production and consumption of power sources, but also through less obvious things too, like during food manufacturing. Carbon dioxide is the main offender. All these emissions have consequences to global warming. So how can individuals and states reduce their emissions?
One of the easiest ways to reduce your individual carbon footprint is to find the five most used light bulbs at home and replace them with ones that use less energy. The new light bulbs tend to last 10 to 50 times longer too, which means they are also probably going to save you money. But, don't forget to turn off the lights when you leave the room!
Water is used daily for a number of activities and is key to our survival. But, there is another reason to pay attention to your individual water usage, aside from just conserving water. A lot of energy is required to pump, treat and heat the water in your home and this increases the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. So, conserving water, conserves energy.
Leaving your car at home at least two or three days per week can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by you by up to two tons a year. When using your car you should try to drive efficiently too. Go easy on the gas and brake pedal, avoid accelerating hard and don't pack useless items in the trunk, since extra weight affects fuel consumption which ultimately increases emissions too.
Why not go for a hybrid or perhaps an electric car? German Chancellor Angela Merkel has set a goal of one million electric cars running in the country by 2020. Although experts say more e-cars would reduce greenhouse gas emissions markedly, the German public is proving reluctant to adopt the idea.
In addition to individual solutions, city, state and national governments also have a crucial role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In big cities, like here in Berlin, efficient public transport systems and the energy efficient re-development of old buildings, can have a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
Buildings produce one third of all greenhouse emissions worldwide. Newly renovated constructions can produce their own energy through solar panels and also reduce their emissions with efficient use of light, windows, water and heating and cooling systems. In the future, cement-making processes also need to be improved, in order to reduce the greenhouse gas impact of the building industry.
Another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is by consuming local groceries. This is because food shipped in from another country has a huge carbon footprint. Also, avoiding meat reduces greenhouse gases. University of Chicago researchers estimate that an American who eats meat emits 1.5 tons more greenhouse gases, especially methane, than someone who doesn't.
Many governments around the world are now moving towards a future based on renewable energy rather than oil, coal or gas. Germany has grown to be a leader in the field. In the year 2000, 6.3 percent of Germany's power came from renewable energy sources. By last year, 25 percent of the nation's power came from renewables.
Several wind turbine farms now exist across Germany and the country produces a surprisingly large power output from solar panels too. Biomass, biowaste and hydropower also form part of the renewables mix. Job creation is an added bonus of the boom in green energy industries. Over 350,000 people work in the sector nationwide.
The idea of paying developing countries which are rich in fossil fuels for not mining their natural resources is starting to become more popular worldwide. Not only does it help preserve unique ecosystems, the trees left in place soak up carbon dioxide in the atmosphere too. The Ecuadorian government hopes that their country's Yasuni region can be utilised in such a way.
If Yasuni is mined it would mean big oil revenues for Ecuador, but at the same time it could spell the destruction of valuable flora and fauna and the possible disintegration of two indigenous groups. Finding solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions means changing aspects of our lifestyle now, as well as preserving the place we live in for future generations.
At home and in the community, there are many lifestyle changes which humans can undertake to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here is a look at some of the best climate change solutions.