Monday, November 19, 2007
Is there any point in going green?
New Scientist has just published the most comprehensive, detailed and inspiring feature article on how much difference an individual can make to global warming. So many of us wonder, as we unplug our appliances each night, buy energy-efficient light bulbs and recycle our newspapers, how much impact we can actually have when China and India are pumping out ever-increasing volumes of CO2 at unchecked rates.
The answer is that you can make a massive difference, reducing your carbon footprint by as much as 75% without having any significant impact on your lifestyle. New Scientist writer Fred Pearce has done the hard work of number crunching to demonstrate exactly how much CO2 output is reduced when you do such small things as replacing light bulbs, taking public transport, recycling and turning off appliances at the power point.
For example, each year:
- converting 25 light bulbs to energy-efficient saves 0.25 tonnes CO2
- switching all appliances off at the plug can save the average household 0.1 tonnes CO2
- with every 1500kms of public transport commuting instead of driving, you save 0.5 tonnes CO2
- recycle all your aluminium cans (av 120) will save 0.2 tonnes CO2
Implementing such small steps as these could reduce the average European's CO2 output by 8 tonnes (from average annual output of 12 tonnes). Australians have a much bigger carbon footprint, mainly due to our love of gas-buzzling cars - we produce around 19 tonnes per capita per year - but can still reduce our output by as much as 75% if we try hard enough.
Unfortunately this article isn't free online, but it's in news stands now (and no I'm not being paid to plug this story - I just think it's incredibly useful information)