While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions around the world, it appears that they will swiftly jump back up when stringent restrictions begin to ease.
Now, scientists are urging the public, as well as government bodies to adopt further environmental protection measures, and the secret is less unnecessary consumption.
Over 7000 studies from around the world have been used to create a list of the most effective consumption changes that people can make to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the research, “household activities account for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions.” Through measured cuts of consumption, particularly in areas of food, transport, and housing, the world could see a great cut in global emissions. However, researchers argue that without government bodies enforcing this, the climate emergency will continue to worsen.
Researchers have listed the top ten ways that consumers cat reduce their carbon footprint:
1. Live car-free
2. Use battery electric vehicles
3. Make one fewer long-haul return flight a year
4. Use renewable energy
5. Use public transport
6. Refurbishment and renovation of buildings
7. Eat a vegan diet
8. Use heat pumps
9. Use improved cooking equipment
10. Use renewable-based heating
The researchers have stated that if one person implemented all of these measures, they could personally emit 9 tonnes less carbon per year.
Cars are the most significant issue when it comes to personal emissions, however, the list revealed some far more interesting facts about personal consumption. Cutting back on just one long-haul return flight each year is equivalent to two whole years on a vegan diet in terms of carbon emission cuts. This is a noteworthy cut in emissions which is quite easily achievable within high-consuming, high-income individuals.
The great thing about most changes on the list is that they are pretty realistic and feasible for a lot of people.
“The top 10 options shown from this research are available to us now, without the need for development of expensive new technologies,” described University of Leeds researcher, Diana Ivanova, who led the study. “Focusing on energy demand reduction clearly presents the lowest mitigation challenges and provides huge potential mitigation impacts.
“The recent coronavirus crisis lockdown has shown the world that options such as living car-free are possible and have a huge impact on the environment. This period of low carbon emissions should motivate governments to strive for strong environmental policies that enable new ways of consuming.”
The science is staring us right in the face: our over-consumption is linked to the world’s biggest and most life-threatening environmental disaster. But, there is something that we can do about it. What changes from the list are you going to make to protect our planet?