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Addressing Climate Change: What can we do?

Updated: Apr 29, 2023



Some Cool Solutions


Carbon and greenhouse gas emissions are changing our global climate and weather to be dangerous and inhospitable to our traditional way of life. How can we mitigate this burning problem?


We can embrace cost-effective technical solutions, take steps to reduce our reliance on burning fossil fuels, and adapt our society to green power sources. The cool solution is to transition to using methods of transportation, goods, and services that use energy sources with low carbon emissions or none at all (such as solar and wind power.)


The first step is understanding what factors into your carbon footprint. To calculate your carbon footprint, use an online calculator. A great calculator is available at coolcalifornia.arb.ca.gov/climate-calculators. This calculator will give you the tools to set a plan over time and discover opportunities to mitigate your footprint. In short: if it burns fossil fuels or was made with fossil fuel power, it contributes to your carbon footprint and needs to be changed to an option that uses green power.


The IPCC (which is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has determined that we need to collectively reduce our Carbon Footprint by 50% by 2030 and get to Net Zero by 2045 to stabilize our global climate. https://www.ipcc.ch/.


Here are some of the best actions we can take to lower our collective carbon footprint:


House and Home

  • Practice ‘Turn it Off’ and ‘Turn it Down’ - No energy used means no carbon produced!

  • Reduce water use - Less water used means less energy needed to pump, treat, and process (waste) water and leads to lowering carbon emissions.

  • Switch to a smart thermostat - Program it to heat/cool less overnight and when you are away.

  • Optimize your heating and cooling systems - Try 78 degrees in the Summer and 68 degrees in the Winter so the system works less.

  • Insulate and Seal - Plug leaks at doors and windows- Loosing less heated or cooled air means less energy needed to heat and cool your home.

  • Switch to LED lights - LEDs are more efficient and use less energy and carbon than other types of artificial light.

  • Switch to 100% green electricity - Some utilities offer 100% carbon free purchase options.

  • Switch to electric water heaters and appliances - Electricity use generates less carbon emissions than burning natural gas.

  • Switch to electric landscaping equipment - Electricity use generates less carbon emissions than burning diesel or gasoline.

  • Install solar - Onsite generation can be very cost effective with a Power Purchase Agreement.


Transportation

  • Switch to alternative fuel vehicles – Electric vehicles generate less carbon emissions than diesel or gasoline-fueled vehicles.

  • Carpool - More people per trip means less fuel used and less carbon emitted.

  • Use public transportation – The less cars on the road, the less carbon emitted.

  • Bike or walk - People power!

  • Telecommute a few days per week - Less trips per week mean less fuel used and carbon emitted.

  • Purchase offsets - When there are no effective reduction options, you can purchase offsets to reach Net Zero.


Purchased Products

  • Switch to low carbon products - Some companies report their product and company’s carbon emission.

  • Buy products made from recyclable and recycled material - Recycled material generally means less carbon emissions during production.

  • Recycle – Reduce waste to landfills - Less landfilled waste reduces the Methane produced in the landfill.

  • Switch to a low carbon diet - Less meat and buying local generally means less carbon emissions in production.

  • Tell your favorite companies to cut their carbon - The customer is always right!


Build Your Own Carbon Footprint and Targets

  • Set your baseline - Knowing your baseline will help you know what to target to get to 50% by 2030

  • Build your plan - It's your plan and can be as aggressive as you like.

  • Achieving just one goal each year can make a difference - The first step is the easiest!

  • Check your available rebates and incentives - There are many government-issued rebates out there for certain electric utilities and some electric cars.

  • Plan big and recheck your plan at least once per year - What is not possible now may be possible in a year or two!


When there are no cost-effective ways to transform your use of fossil fuels to green power, purchasing carbon credits can offset those emissions. An offset is a certificate representing the right to emit a specific amount of carbon that is/will be sequestered by an organization who is paid to reduce the equivalent amount of carbon. There are many options to purchase offsets, and we very highly recommend that you confirm that those offsets are third party certified.

The key is for all of us to take meaningful actions and share them with others to reduce our collective carbon footprint. Sharing with others can help them understand what is possible. Working together, we can all take small steps that add up to big transformations over time.



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