Climate change: 10 ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Climate change, which is posing as the biggest threat to human lives and biodiversity as well, needs to be addressed on a war footing to save precious lives.
Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities cause global warming and climate change. The temperature of Earth has already reached 1.2 degree Celsius, making it warmer than pre-industrial times. The scientists predict that the planet will witness more devastating floods, wildfires and cyclones in upcoming years with 2 degree Celsius of global warming.
“Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread. We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe. It is time to go into emergency mode — or our chance of reaching net-zero will itself be zero,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres had said at recent UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) last year.
The present scenario is quite disturbing. However, people can overcome the crisis with lots of dedicated efforts.
“The climate emergency demands action from all of us. We need to get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and everyone has a role to play,” UNEP’s Climate Change Coordinator Niklas Hagelberg said suggesting “We, as individuals, must change our consumption habits and pressure those who represent us – our employers, our politicians – to move rapidly to a low-carbon world.”
Here are 10 ways to be part of movement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
1. Join campaign on Climate Change and spread message
Take a step and encourage your friends and family to reduce global carbon pollution by joining global movement like Count Us In that aims to influence brands, markets, governments to act boldly and speed up change on a global scale. Or you could sign up to the UN’s #ActNow campaign on climate change and sustainability and add your voice to this critical global debate.
2. Mount pressure on politicians and businesses
Concerned residents can mount pressure on local politicians and businesses to support efforts to cut carbon emissions. Raise your voice over environmental issues on a specific platform and arrange meeting with your local representatives. Make your society aware of the serious challenges that planet is facing and worst consequences of climate change.
3. Transform your transport
According to UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the transport accounts for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions and across the world, many governments are implementing policies to decarbonize travel. Walk or cycle whenever possible and try to avoid using car to travel to office or workplace. If you are staying far away from office, chose public transport preferably electric vehicle.
4. Switch to Renewable energy
Renewable energy could be more efficient to turn global warming down. The UNEP bats for installation of solar panels on your roof to replace thermal power that is heating the Earth more. Switch off appliances and lights when you are not using them. Insulate your loft or roof: you’ll be warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and save some money too.
5. Change food habits
The UNEP suggests to eat more plant-based meals. Today, around 60 per cent of the world’s agricultural land is used for livestock grazing and people in many countries are consuming more animal-sourced food than is healthy. Plant-rich diets can help reduce chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
6. Shop local and buy sustainable
To reduce your food’s carbon footprint, buy local and seasonal foods. By doing this, you will be helping small businesses and farms in your area and reducing fossil fuel emissions associated with transport and cold chain storage. According to UNEP, sustainable agriculture uses up to 56 per cent less energy, creates 64 per cent fewer emissions and allows for greater levels of biodiversity than conventional farming. Go one step further and try growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. You can plant them in a garden, on a balcony or even on a window sill. Set up a community garden in your neighbourhood to get others involved.
7. Don’t waste food
According to UNEP’s Food Waste Index Report 2021, people globally waste 1 billion tonnes of food each year, which accounts for around 8-10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Avoid waste by only buying what you need. Take advantage of every edible part of the foods you purchase. Measure portion sizes of rice and other staples before cooking them, store food correctly, be creative with leftovers, share extras with your friends and neighbours and contribute to a local food-sharing scheme. Make compost out of inedible remnants and use it to fertilize your garden. Composting is one of the best options for managing organic waste while also reducing environmental impacts.
8. Dress smart
The fashion industry accounts for 8-10 per cent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined – and ‘fast fashion’ has created a throwaway culture that sees clothes quickly end up in landfills, says the UNEP. People can purchase fewer new clothes and wear them longer. Recycle pre-loved clothes and repair when necessary.
9. Plant more trees
Every year approximately 12 million hectares of forest are destroyed and this deforestation, together with agriculture and other land use changes, is responsible for roughly 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. We all can play a part in reversing it by planting more trees either individually or collectively.
10. Invest on financial institutions that are making planet-friendly investments
People can invest their savings on financial institutions that do not invest in carbon-polluting industries. According to UNEP, this sends a clear signal to the market. Many financial institutions are offering more ethical investments across the world. Choice is yours to make your investment.