Our climate is changing and the way we are addressing it is rapidly advancing too. It’s important that everyone does their part to lessen the burden of carbon on our planet and one way is to reduce our carbon emissions.
What Are Carbon Emissions?
Carbon emissions are the carbon dioxide gases that are put into our air, a type of greenhouse gas (GHG), that filters into the atmosphere from human activities like energy production or manufacturing goods. Greenhouse gas traps more heat in our atmosphere, leading to a slow destruction of our delicate ecosystems. Human activity like burning fossil fuels (e.g. natural gas), manufacturing, and driving vehicles with gas consuming combustion engines causes a sharp increase in greenhouse gas emissions, to levels that no longer balance out on their own.
Why Is Reducing Carbon Emissions So Important?
The levels of pollutants in the air can impact our health. Conditions like asthma or allergies are just the tip of the human impact. Poor air quality caused by carbon emissions can lead to heart attacks, strokes, lung disease, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. Reducing carbon emissions can positively impact air quality for all and even prevent premature death.
Poor air quality stresses health issues for people with pre-existing chronic conditions. This can start a chain reaction of increasing healthcare visits, which we all know can overburden our already maxed out healthcare system.
It’s no surprise that several parts of the world, including North America, are being hit with more wildfires than ever. Rising carbon emissions cause extreme weather conditions like heat waves and droughts making delicate forests and brush susceptible to fire. Wildfires emit dangerous amounts of carbon emissions, and rising carbon emissions cause extreme weather conditions. Hence, a perpetuated the cycle of more wildfires continues and the resulting destruction to humanity.
Reducing our emissions can relieve some of the human burden and costs from forest and land management, emergency responders, and fire departments worldwide. These are just a few of the socio-economic reasons to care about carbon emission reductions.
The 5 Ways to Reduce Carbon Emissions
There are many ways we can pull together and reduce carbon emissions. Here are a quick 5 to get you started.
1. Reduce Transportation Costs
Transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions are enormous. Transportation is now the number-one source of greenhouse gases.
Eliminating flights, carpooling incentives, transitioning fleet vehicles to electric vehicles can all help reduce costs and carbon. Transportation costs and emissions are reduced by having staff work from home.
2. Increase Efficiency
For instance, a coal power plant burns fossil fuel and is more harmful to the environment than wind power or solar power.
Start with your building envelope. Ensure your business is properly insulated. Update ad and automate lighting systems to LED, replace aging equipment with newer, more energy efficient equipment for heating and cooling. Use energy management systems to remotely analyze and optimize the energy consuming items on your facility.
3. Minimize Waste
Reduce energy use in your everyday operations. Buy appliances or equipment that use less energy.
Maybe this means finally upgrading to LED lighting or using the air conditioner less. Encourage sustainable transport and carpool programs with benefits.
4. Offset by Afforestation and Treeplanting
Deforestation is one of the significant causes of carbon emissions, and as we noted earlier, too much carbon in the air can lead to more forest fires. Trees absorb and store the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but they can no longer absorb carbon once they are used for lumber or burned down.
By protecting the world’s most critical old growth and rainforests we protect a giant carbon sink. These trees are mature and have significant impact on carbon sequestration right now. To protect our future, planting trees is one of the most inexpensive, natural ways to take climate action and maintain the carbon removal power in trees. Look for credits that are registered on the UNFCCC REDD+ Information Hub
5. Switch to Renewable Energy
Choose your energy partner wisely. They can help you make the transition to cleaner self-generated options like solar, or geo-thermal. Some can also help you purchase cleaner energy from suppliers.
Solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal energy are all energy sources with a higher level of sustainability. You will save money and produce less carbon emissions. Add a bike rack to the office as a safe place to house worker’s bikes to encourage emissions-free transportation. Batteries are most useful when they can store the energy renewables create so it is not wasted. They are a great back-up when renewables are generating at an inopportune time.
Final Thoughts on Reducing Carbon
New carbon-reduction technology in this industry is advancing quickly, but the main principles stay the same. We start with conservation – using less fossil fuels, then ensure what we use is most efficient and then electrify where possible. Everyone should take a customized approach to reduce their own carbon and seek an Energy Management Consultant who understands all aspects of energy usage including planning, performance, optimization and governance.