Insights from the UK and beyond
How have you reduced your carbon footprint?
A new government policy document proposes that the low carbon sector will continue to grow despite the recession.
The number of people employed in the sector could rise to more than 1 million people by 2015, compared to 880,000 today.
The government is promoting the expansion of Britain’s nuclear programme and the use of such renewable energy sources as wind, solar and tidal power.
According to the United Nations, many simple things can be done to reduce a person’s carbon footprint, the measure of the impact human activities have on the environment.
A carbon footprint is a measurement in tonnes (or kilograms) of carbon dioxide equivalent of all greenhouse gases we produce by burning fossil fuels for such activities as electricity, heating and transportation.
Just under half of personal emissions come from things under an individuals’ control, according to the United Nations, which recommends some simple steps to cut your footprint:
* Use a traditional wind-up alarm clock, not an electronic one: save almost 48 grams (g) of carbon dioxide (CO2) each day.
* Brush with a non-electric toothbrush: avoid nearly 48 g of CO2 emissions.
* Replace a 45-minute workout on a treadmill with a jog in a nearby park: save nearly 1 kilogram of carbon.
* Heat bread rolls in a toaster, not an oven, for 15 minutes: save nearly 170 g of CO2.
* Take the train rather than the car to the office: a distance of as little as 8 km (5 miles) can save 1.7 kg of CO2.
* Shut down your computer and flat screen during the lunch break and when you leave work: this cuts CO2 emissions generated by these appliances by one-third.
* Install a water-saving shower head. This will save 10 liters of water per minute and halve CO2 emissions of a three-minute hot shower.
* Switch from regular 60-Watt light bulbs to energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps.
* Dry clothes on a washing line instead of a tumble dryer: knock 2.3 kg of CO2 off your total.
* Pack a light suitcase: world savings of 2 million tonnes of CO2 a year are possible if every airline passenger cuts their baggage to below 20 kg and buys duty free goods on arrival.