Greenhouse gas emissions have significantly increased in recent years. Usually, people think that the problem lies with large corporations and governments. However, beyond the responsibility that they hold in creating it, reducing the carbon footprint is a task that requires an effort from everyone.
The success of these global efforts to reduce the carbon footprint will depend on small contributions we can all make in our houses, office, factories, schools, the street, and cars.
Driving a vehicle, doing laundry, purchasing food, and cooking are everyday activities for all. As harmless as they may seem for the environment, each of them leaves a trail of carbon dioxide emissions.
The energy used in households on a daily basis accounts for nearly 18 percent of GHG emissions in Europe, according to a report on household consumption prepared by statistics center Eurostat.
What’s the amount of EU air emissions 🌬️embodied in EU exports to the rest of the world 🌐? And the number of EU jobs embodied in extra-EU exports? Find out from the 2019 edition of the FIGARO tables 👉 https://t.co/2fzYNtXhqM @EU_Eurostat pic.twitter.com/OBEIVylBZ8
— EU_ScienceHub (@EU_ScienceHub) April 5, 2019
Carbon dioxide emissions increased in 2018, according to the UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook.
These figures coincide with a recent study published by the University of Stanford, which states that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels grew in 2018. This rise endangers the compliance with global environmental goals.
Spain has a long road ahead
Polluting emissions in Spain stood at 339.8 million tons in 2017, up by 4 percent from the previous year.
81 percent of said emissions correspond to carbon dioxide (CO2). The transportation and power sectors generate the largest share of these polluting gases.
These figures were published last year as part of the Greenhouse Gases Emissions Inventory (1990-2017).
In 2017, emissions grew in all major industries, with the power generation sector at the lead with a rise of 16.9 percent.
Other industries that recorded a rise in CO2 emissions are the industrial sector (+3.5 percent) and the agriculture sector (+3.1 percent). Meanwhile, land transportation went up by 1.7 percent. The main drops were recorded in the commercial and residential sectors (-3.3 percent) and the use of fluorinated gases (-17.2%).
The task to reduce our carbon footprint starts at home
Despite this rise, we can all help reduce polluting gas emissions with little actions in our everyday lives.
Nowadays there are several platforms, initiatives, and even apps that help spread awareness on the environmental consequences of our day-to-day activities.
Therefore, it is important that we all join initiatives meant to lower our carbon footprint, combat climate change, and favor a more sustainable model.
— Reforestum (@reforestum) September 5, 2018
Some solutions available to all
- Reforestum. A platform to calculate a person’s CO2 emissions. According to their budget, each person can contribute to plant a tree or maintain a forest to compensate for said emissions.
- CleanSpace. This app offers real-time data about air quality at any place. This way, drivers can choose the less polluted route and reduce the time of exposure to these harmful elements.
- CleanMiles. This app offers a measure of polluting gases that can be prevented by riding a bicycle or walking so that the user can reduce his/her carbon footprint.
- Carbon markets. Are based on trading emission units or Certified Emissions Reduction (CER), with which their owners are able to issue a certain amount of CO2 and GHG. This way, a company that invests on clean technologies will have excess CERs that it can sell and amortize its sustainable investments.
- My Use. This app allows calculating the carbon footprint generated by everyday activities and offers advice on how to minimize and reduce emissions, both at home and at work.
- Responsible and sustainable consumption. This initiative consists of purchasing sustainable products which production was emissions-free or that the manufacturer compensated for said emissions.
In this sense, with a little effort, imagination, and help from technology, each citizen can become an active player in the efforts to reduce the carbon footprint.
For more information, check Energía16