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  • Writer's pictureCarl Brettle

Understand what makes up our Carbon Footprint

Climate change is an issue where the answer always seems out of our reach, where we are unable to have a significant enough impact to make the change needed.

It's true it needs the largest country polluters in the world to change their legislation and habits, because the carbon they produce and the effect it has, touches every country in the world, not just theirs. The USA, India, China, Japan and Russia are amongst the highest contributors to Climate change in our world today.

You'll see in this graphic the breakdown of how climate change works. Where greenhouse gases are released and we've made some suggestions of what we could do about that as far as our own lives are concerned.

19.6% - Industry

Industry exists to provide the basic raw materials for us all to use, so while we don't have direct control over industry, if enough people changed their living habits, the industry would reshape itself to meet that changing demand.

18% - Electricity & Heat

It's Gas central heating more than anything here that releases greenhouse gases. We can offset of course our need to consume electricity by installing Solar Panels, but the big saving would be if we moved our heating across to a heat exchange unit or Electricity only, removing Gas or Coal altogether.

15% - Agriculture

When you drive around the countryside you see Cows and Sheep everywhere. They are bred to provide us with Lamb, Steak, mince meet and are yet all over the world a huge driver of methane production, which is released into the air. Literally, the flatulence of these animals is a major contributor to climate change - answer, eat less meat and more fish or plant-based meals.

10% - Road Transportation

This covers lorries, heavy haulage and of course cars. We can't do much about the first two, but a lot about our own vehicle. The price of electric cars is coming down, so plan in your future to own one, when the world goes fully electric with cars, this contribution to carbon will reduce by two-thirds.

9.6% - Other Energy

We can't do much about this, as it takes energy and costs carbon to build wind farms, solar farms, tidal power units etc. This does include fossil fuel burning, so if you have a coal or wood burner, you'll need to think of changing it if you can.

9% - Land Use Change and Forestry

Deforestation is a huge issue as land is cleared for new dwellings, industrial parks etc. We need to plant more trees to offset the carbon reduction trees naturally make. If one person paid to plant 761 trees in their lifetime, their whole life would become carbon neutral.

6.4% - Buildings

These are mainly office and retail buildings. Everyone who works in admin will know how easy it is to work from home and zoom into a meeting. The more people who work from home, the less office space is needed, the fewer buildings built, the less heating and cooling those buildings need. If you can't work from home all the time as your boss if you can start with one day a week, that's a 20% saving per week on your own office space need and footprint.

4.2% - Fuel Production

We mentioned earlier Road Transportation Cars & Lorries etc. yet those vehicles require fuel and the extraction, refinement and distribution of that fuel is a huge undertaking. Once we get to electric vehicles, there is an opportunity to reduce this.

4% - Non Road Transportation (Aircraft, Boats etc.)

We can of course

2.6% - Petroleum Refining

Cars are now in three categories, which is a testament to the fact that our desire to transport ourselves creates a whole lot of carbon problems. The exhaust emission of the vehicle 10%, Fuel Production 4.2%, Refining 2.6% so the actual cost of combustion-based vehicles is 16.8%.

1.4% - Landfill Waste

We've made progress on recycling and reduction of plastics, yet still, over 1% of entire lives ends up in landfill. Just do what you can to compost, so buy fully recycled materials etc.

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