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  1. TopTop #1
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    The most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed

    Even more reason to go vegetarian!


    The most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed

    July 11, 2017



    Governments and schools are not communicating the most effective ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints, according to new research.

    Published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study from Lund University, found that the incremental changes advocated by governments may represent a missed opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beneath the levels needed to prevent 2C of climate warming.

    The four actions that most substantially decrease an individual's carbon footprint are: eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car-free, and having smaller families.

    The research analysed 39 peer reviewed papers, carbon calculators, and government reports to calculate the potential of a range of individual lifestyle choices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This comprehensive analysis identifies the actions individuals could take that will have the greatest impact on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

    Lead author Seth Wynes said: "There are so many factors that affect the climate impact of personal choices, but bringing all these studies side-by-side gives us confidence we've identified actions that make a big difference. Those of us who want to step forward on climate need to know how our actions can have the greatest possible impact. This research is about helping people make more informed choices.

    "We found there are four actions that could result in substantial decreases in an individual's carbon footprint: eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car free, and having smaller families. For example, living car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, while eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.

    "These actions, therefore, have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (which is 4 times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (8 times less effective)."

    The researchers also found that neither Canadian school textbooks nor government resources from the EU, USA, Canada and Australia highlight these actions, instead focussing on incremental changes with much smaller potential to reduce emissions.

    Study co-author Kimberly Nicholas said: "We recognize these are deeply personal choices. But we can't ignore the climate effect our lifestyle actually has. Personally, I've found it really positive to make many of these changes. It's especially important for young people establishing lifelong patterns to be aware which choices have the biggest impact. We hope this information sparks discussion and empowers individuals," she concluded.

    Reprinted from here
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  3. TopTop #2
    carpet crawler
     

    Re: The most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed

    While I agree that reducing meat consumption is a good thing, I can't help but notice that the words accompanying the report themselves introduce bias. Usually it's good to list things in the order of biggest impact on down. Here (twice even) the order is reversed: "eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car free, and having smaller families". Indeed, one of the items more impactful than going vegetarian, namely buying green energy, is skipped completely. (Almost anyone in the county can buy green energy via Sonoma Clean Power's Evergreen program, BTW.).

    Also, although there's a graph point for "Replace typical car with Hybrid" as well as "Switch electric car to car-free", I bet that switching from a typical car to an electric one would make a pretty large impact relative to eating plants.

    All good things to consider though!
    Last edited by Barry; 07-16-2017 at 01:10 PM.
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