Everyone has a “carbon footprint” – the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we are personally responsible for . To estimate your own, use an online calculator, such as .
It’s estimated that to keep global warming to 1.5°C, the carbon footprint of people in wealthy countries needs to drop by up to 93% by 2050 . For developed countries, on average, the top actions to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions are :
1) Have one less child
2) Live car free
3) Fly less
4) Buy green energy
5) Eat a plant-based diet (or, most importantly, avoid beef )
We are not suggesting that people should stop having children to prevent global warming. How much each new person contributes to global warming depends on their individual lifestyle, but it is a fact that if people have fewer children, there will be less greenhouse gas emissions and less severe climate change .
Every individual choice, e.g. to drive or not drive, adds or subtracts from global greenhouse gas emissions – every choice does count! The more people who change, the more people who follow suit .
When you replace objects with more efficient alternatives, be wary of the ‘rebound effect’ . This is best explained with an example: when a person insulates their home, heating is cheaper per °C, so they turn up their heating for more comfort, meaning in the end they save less (or no) money and energy . This can also happen ‘indirectly’: you save money on heating, and use this money for other carbon-intensive activities, like taking an airplane on holiday . It’s estimated that over 30% of greenhouse gas emission reductions may be cancelled out by people spending saved money on other things .
Exactly what actions would be most impactful for you depend on your current lifestyle, and where you live (e.g. because of availability of renewable energy) . However, the science is clear: the reductions in consumption required towards 2050 are ‘drastic’ .
Join our Newsletter!
Climate Science is registered as a non-profit company limited by guarantee in England and Wales.
Copyright © 2019-2020 Climate Science Ltd. All rights reserved.