With governments around the world urging people to cut their carbon footprint and to treat climate change seriously, we have all heard about it, but how many people have given it serious enough consideration to actually do something about it? The answer is that although there are some people acting to reduce their carbon footprint, it is not nearly enough to reduce the trend. So what can we, the ordinary public do to help?
What is Climate Change?
To be specific, climate change is the fact that the world has warmed up by 0.75 degrees C in the last 100 years. This is an extremely rapid rise in worldwide temperature and scientists are pinpointing human activity as the cause. This is largely due to activity that causes CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. In the UK, 40% of emissions are caused by individuals through home energy use, travel and other activities.
How is it Affecting our Planet?
The effects of climate change on our planet are measurable and visible in terms of the global rise in sea levels, melting of sea ice and glaciers and the ever increasing number of extreme weather events such as flooding, hurricanes and droughts that seem to be prominent in news reports from around the world.
How to Help.
The effect that each of us has on the environment is known as our carbon footprint. As stated earlier, the individual carbon footprint is responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions in the UK. Tackled at a household or individual level, if a concerted effort was made to reduce the carbon footprint, it would have the biggest impact on helping to slow global warming. Here are some of the things you can do to move towards greener living.
- The next time you compare energy rates on an energy comparison website check for the companies that supply only green energy and consider switching to one of them. This can immediately reduce your carbon footprint by up to 30%
- Change travel habits by choosing to fly less often and driving a car with a smaller engine. You could also look into the possibility of purchasing an electric or hybrid car. There is currently a network of high-speed charging stations being rolled out across the UK
- Make sure that your home is energy efficient by insulating it well. There are many sources of financial help available via the energy supply companies and the government.
- Choose efficient appliances. The energy efficiency rating system rates products between A and G. If you need to replace any of your household appliances, make sure they are A rated. Install energy efficient light bulbs
- Turn appliances off when not in use rather than leaving them in standby mode
- Introduce timers and high-efficiency thermostats into your heating and hot water supply systems.
- Consider installation of solar and wind powered home generating systems. Grants and feed in tariffs are available in some circumstances
The biggest single contribution you can make to help with climate change is to compare energy rates and whenever possible use an energy comparison site to switch energy companies. By taking some of the other measures you can reduce carbon footprint still further and even save money on energy costs. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save as much as £300 per year on your energy bills.
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