What’s the evidence for man-made global warming?
There’s been a huge amount written on this, and there’s still much controversy. For an excellent synopsis of the evidence, see this video produced by the prestigious US National Research Council. Suffice to say, Steyning 10:10 believes the evidence is compelling, and we need to do something about it!
How much carbon dioxide do I produce?
The average UK carbon dioxide emissions per person is around 6.0 tonnes/year. The three biggest contributors are air travel* (30%), car travel (20%) and home heating (20%). These are just the ‘direct’ emissions – those we control ourselves. If ‘indirect’ emissions from factories, offices, construction, food production, and other activities are added in, the total comes to 12.5 tonnes/year !
Everyone’s consumption pattern is different. It depends on the kind of home we’re living in, where we work and the lifestyle we live. The point is that nearly all of us can make substantial savings in our carbon emissions if we think about it, and take the most obvious steps.
There’s loads of websites with carbon calculators to assess your footprint. A simple one is on the Carbon Independent website.
* Note that these figures for air travel – which are often excluded from national statistics – are adjusted to allow for the impact of water vapour and nitrous oxide emitted at high altitudes
What can I do about it?
Lots! For frequent flyers, reducing air travel will make the biggest difference. Significant savings can also be made by driving less, insulating your home better, turning your thermostat down a few degrees, and many other smaller – but still significant – changes to our lifestyles. Most of these are fairly painless and will actually save money. You won’t have to spend a fortune or become a hermit to save 10%! See the fact sheet for more information.
The 10:10 website has lots of information on the campaign, and how to cut your carbon emissions – see www.1010global/uk
Other great sources are the Energy Saving Trust the government Act on CO2 site and the Amber Links site – which is an independent site providing links to useful websites to encourage more effective personal responses to climate change.
Sussex Green Living is a green network & website which aims to inspire & educate parents, children, carers and teachers about nature, wildlife and how we can protect our planet and live more sustainably. It contains sustainable living tips, eco or green arts, events, videos, green space and walks ideas and much more.
There’s some excellent practical books on the subject, too, such as:
“The Economical Environmentalist” by Prashant Vaze (2009). Economic analyst for the UK government, Prashant Vaze gives a personal account of his attempt to “decarbonise his life”. Filled with pertinent data, presented in a conversational way, with quotes ranging from the Old Testament to Miss Piggy. See his website for details. “If this book doesn’t motivate you, then only the rising flood water will!
“How can I stop climate change?” by Helen Burley and Chris Haslam (2008). Very comprehensive but understandable guide to how individuals can reduce their emissions. ‘This is the definitive guide to reducing your carbon footprint’ (New Scientist).
“How to live a low carbon life: the individual’s guide to stopping climate change” by Chris Goodall (2007) Produced by Friends of the Earth. Goes through the science, and the options for cutting emissions. Very clear. Some good case study examples.
“The Low-carbon Diet: Wise Up, Chill Out and Save the World“ by Polly Ghazi & Rachel Lewis (2007). ‘This book is fun. For someone like me it has just the right measure of information, fun and incentive to help make the positive changes in my lifestyle that will count’ (Amazon reviewer).
“Sustainable energy without the hot air” by David MacKay (2009) A fantastic book, particularly if you’re into the numbers. Goes through all the options for cutting our energy use and generating energy through sustainable routes – using basic physics to show what the potential and limitations are. Comes up with a series of energy plans for the UK, assuming different mixes of renewables, nuclear, and carbon capture. The whole book is available to download from his website.
Let us know of any sources you have found particularly useful. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org