Published on April 12, 2011
Carbon Footprint: Carbon Footprint Emerald Palmer ENC-114 Oral Presentation What is Carbon?: What is Carbon? Everything that grows is built out of carbon. Carbon is also stored in great quantities in all fossil fuels. When carbon is in its solid form, it is harmless, and in fact profoundly helpful and supportive of life as we know it. When these sources of carbon are burned, carbon is transformed into a gas known as Carbon Dioxide or C0 2 . Increasing accumulations of C0 2 in the earth’s atmosphere coupled with increasing emissions of other green house gases is responsible for the global warming crisis we now face as a global community . What is a “Carbon Footprint”?: What is a “Carbon Footprint”? A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the total greenhouse gas emissions produced directly and indirectly in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc. Global CO2 Emissions: Global CO 2 Emissions From all sources, the average American is responsible for approximately 19-21 tons of carbon emissions annually. The US as a whole is responsible for emitting approximately 25% of all global green house gas emissions every year while we are only 5% of the world’s population. Metric tons of C0 2 Per Country 2005 Slide 6: (The average annual US carbon footprint is 20.4 metric tons.) Slide 7: (Zoom in to see emissions by country) Secondary Carbon Input: Secondary Carbon Input An individual’s carbon footprint is the direct effect their actions have on the environment in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. In general, the biggest contributors to the carbon footprints of individuals in industrialized nations are transportation and household electricity use. An individual's secondary carbon footprint is dominated by their diet, clothes, and personal products. Why Offset Carbon?: Why Offset Carbon? It is important for us all to think in terms of reducing our emissions of C0 2 . Every aspect of our economy is dependent on fossil fuel derived energy and resources. As we seek and develop alternative sources of energy, and as we begin to think and live in more efficient ways, we are still left with the undeniable reality that we have irreversibly damaged our earth from generations of negligence. C0 2 emissions from economic activity will continue and perhaps escalate if we don’t get a grasp on our carbon footprint. The only current way to address this issue head on is to offset the emissions we cannot yet eliminate. Our Diet and Footprint: Our Diet and Footprint A plant-based diet is significantly less land and energy intensive than a diet with a high proportion of meat, seafood, and dairy. Weber, C. and H. Matthews. 2008. Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States Environ. Sci. Technol., 42 (10): 3508–3513 http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/esthag/2008/42/i10/abs/es702969f.html Slide 13: Meat production drives deforestation and requires high inputs of energy for processing and transportation, it also comes with a high carbon footprint price tag. Globally, it has been estimated that up to 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are associated with animal product consumption. (The average American diet generates the equivalent of 1.5 tons more carbon dioxide per year than a vegetarian diet.) 8.1 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually from US food consumption choices Slide 15: Today in current food systems an average food item in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles * – up to 25% farther than in 1980 Gasoline is 85.5% carbon 1 gallon of conventional gasoline becomes 172 cubic feet / 4.87 cubic meters of CO2 R.Pirog . 2003. Checking the Food Odometer. 2003. Leopold Center, ISU. www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/staff/files/food_travel072103.pdf 100 Mile Diet, http://100milediet.org/ To help offset your food carbon footprint, buy local Zero-Waste Society: Zero-Waste Society Did You Know? Recycling one metric ton of paper saves 17 trees. It takes 40 - 95% less energy to produce goods with recycled aluminum, glass, plastic, or paper than it does to manufacture them with raw materials. The US average carbon dioxide emission average is 1010 pounds per person per year? Recycling our wastes has enormous environmental and economic benefits in the form of reduced landfill space, fewer demands for raw materials, less energy consumption, less air and water pollution, lower waste-disposal bills, and cheaper goods. Slide 18: (Find out what you can recycle in your area.) Green Cleaning Products Matter: Green Cleaning Products Matter Products used to clean floors, carpets, bathrooms, and other building elements often contain harmful chemicals that can have serious human health effects and contaminate water supplies, fish, and wildlife if they are poured down drains, circulated through ventilation systems, or disposed of outdoors. Environmental damage can also occur during the development, manufacture, and transport of these products. Fortunately, biodegradable and non-toxic alternatives can significantly reduce or eliminate these impacts altogether while providing the same level of cleanliness. Small Lifestyle Changes Make a Difference: Small Lifestyle Changes Make a Difference Many of us tend to ignore the small things we can do to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions because we don’t feel like we’re making a big difference, our lives are too busy, or misconception is that we have to spend money to save the environment. But small things add up. Slide 23: Energy efficient appliances use 2 to 10 times less energy for the same level of functionality. Reduce Your Carbon Offset: Reduce Your Carbon Offset The idea of a carbon offset is to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions of a person by investing in a project that reduces emissions from the atmosphere. The idea behind purchasing carbon offsets to help balance your impact on the world today. There are many routes an offset purchase can go: wind energy farms, siphoning off methane from landfills, planting trees or making buildings more energy efficient. Purchasing carbon offset blocks from reputable companies with a dedicated and proven carbon offset program can greatly improve the environment now, although this is not a solution to reducing usage. Slide 27: One carbon offset block will mitigate about 500 pounds of CO 2 or 100 kwh of electricity. That’s the approximate emissions from driving 6,000 miles (mid-size car). The annual reduction of CO 2 emissions from one block of NC GreenPower subscribed monthly is equivalent to planting 192 trees. Currently, NC GreenPower supports 40 million kWh of renewable energy per year, which is enough to power more than 3,000 average homes in North Carolina. Slide 29: An average car driven 10,000 miles in one year can put off an average of 5.5 metric tons of CO 2 emissions. Slide 30: Leaving your car at home just two days a week can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,600 pounds per year. The average driver could save 16,000 lbs. of CO2 and $3,750 per year by driving a hybrid For More Information: For More Information Websites www.onebillionbulbs.com/ www.energystar.gov/ www.greenercars.org/ www.soilassociation.org www.farmersmarkets.net www.getitsorted.org www.greenerchoices.org/ www.usps.com/green/recycle.htm www.digitaltips.org/green/default.asp www.earth911.com/recycling/electronics/ www.openthefuture.com www.treehugger.com/ www.yourgreenfriend.com Works Cited Enivronmental Protection Agency. 16 March <http://www.epa.gov/epp/pubs/cleaning.htm>. EPA Design for the Environment. 19 March 2011 <http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/projects/formulat/label.htm>. Greenhouse Gas Emissions per Country 2005. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/01/GHG_by_country_2005.png>. NC Green Power. 23 March 2011 <http://www.ncgreenpower.org/index.php>. Stop Global Warming. 20 March 2011 <http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/take-action/action-items/>. U.S. Department of Energy's Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). 2004. 16 March 2011 <http://cdiac.ornl.gov/>. USA Environmental Protection Agency. 20 March 2011 <http://www.epa.gov/>. Walser , Maggie L. Enclyclopedia of Earth. 14 July 2010. 14 March 2011 <http://www.eoearth.org/article/Carbon_footprint>. Understanding your carbon footprint is the first step to reduce it: Understanding your carbon footprint is the first step to reduce it 59 Ways to Offset Your Carbon Footprint: 59 Ways to Offset Your Carbon Footprint If you want to make an immediate saving, insulation is the place to start - nearly 25% of heat is lost via homes that are not insulated. Where possible install a wood burning stove and use renewable wood fuel. Compost your degradable rubbish to produce an unlimited free supply of fertilizer for the garden. Install an airer - it takes minutes to hang your clothes on a wall or floor mounted airer , drying rack or washing line and lengthens the life of your clothes by not using a tumble dryer. Fit a water saver in the toilet cistern. Slide 34: Turn the thermostat down 2-5˚, wear an extra layer, wear thick socks, wear a woolly hat. A third of body heat is lost through the head. Heavy or lined curtains will help to reduce heat loss. Exterior doors are a major source of draughts, hang curtains in front of them during the wintertime. Review all your clothes. Any item in your wardrobe not worn in a year- give it away to charity. It eliminates clutter - make it circulate again. Don’t hoard unwanted Christmas gifts - donate them as well. Buy clothing and household towels from alternative natural products suchas hemp, coconut and bamboo or organic cotton options. Buy Organic fruit and vegetable boxes full of local produce or local organic meat and sausages to eliminate packaging and trucking charges. Look up the Soil Association website and check the listing of local produce, producers and farmers markets in your area. If you must buy from a supermarket, buy fruit and vegetables in-season. Don’t buy out-of season foods such as: green beans from Kenya, runner beans and asparagus from Peru, baby corn from Thailand, stringless beans from Morocco or papaya from Brazil. These products have a high carbon footprint as they are shipped long distances by air or container freight before being trucked to a supermarket. Recycle your bath water (known as grey water) by fitting a siphon pump powered water recycling system. It takes the bath water out of the house to the garden using a normal hose. Slide 35: Don’t leave the tap running when you clean your teeth, this could waste six liters of water per minute - fill a tumbler instead. Buy a plug which monitors the amount of electricity a particular appliance uses. This helps to identify energy hungry appliances. Plant a tree. It used to be cool to knock ‘tree huggers’, now it’s great to be one. Plant vegetables - Become self - sufficient. Pay bills online- it avoids postage and processing, reduces use of Paper and saves trees. Use energy saving compact lamps and save up to 80% electricity costs. They can last up to 10,000 hours – ten times the life of normal lamps. Look out for LED lamps and LED perforated lamps - they last up to 100,000 hours. Experiment with solar powered lamps in the garden that charges during the day and lights up at night. Wash your car using a bucket and sponge instead of a jet wash OR clean and polish your car using water-less carwash system. Think before you drive - is my journey really necessary? Can I commute, or use Park & Ride? For your next car consider a smaller manual car - automatics use 10%-19%more fuel. Switch to diesel or mixed fuel, LPG or a hybrid vehicle. Find the fuel economy and emissions of all new cars at the Vehicle Certification Agency. Say ‘No’ to paper coffee mugs with plastic lids. Buy and reuse your own mug, especially heat preserving ones. Slide 36: Fill your fridge or freezer for more efficiency. Keep old egg cartons filled with old newspaper handy, to fill the spaces - less empty space means less area to frost - less electricity used. Don’t leave phone chargers plugged in when they aren’t in use - they continue to use 75% of the energy they were using when your phone was plugged in and charging! Take a shower in four minutes or less. Showers use up to 50% less water than a bath. Fit a special low flow showerhead that aerates or restricts water. 10 minutes in a power shower uses more water than a bath! Choose electrical appliances with care. Learn about energy efficiency ratings A, B, C etc. Look for white good appliances that are A++, A+A, and AAA energy rated. Fit a presence detector in less used areas such as the garage that can switch lights on when a person enters the room and off when the person leaves. Fit a daylight sensor dimmer that compensates for the amount of daylight available. Use natural products such as lemon, salt, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, soda water and olive oil as cleaning and polishing agents. Choose light colors to paint walls or woodwork in the home. Dark colors absorb light and need brighter lighting using much more energy. Buy eco-friendly or lead-free paint. Buy reusable napkins not disposable ones or partially biodegradable ones. They are available in most supermarkets. Install solar panels if you have a large southeast or southwest facing surface, facing the sun. If you live in a windy area, install roof top wind turbines. Slide 37: Eat less meat. Methane gas is another major contributor to global warming. Replace meat with fish, vegetables, soya, and quinoa. ‘Delay Timer Start’ is available on some appliances, allowing you to switch-on later at an off-peak rate, saving energy and costs. Rethink your paper use. Try not to use new paper - replace it with recycled paper. In the kitchen replace napkins and paper towels. Recycle envelops and padded bags. Only boil as much water in the kettle as you need but remember to cover the elements. If you do boil more than you need pour it into a thermos flask to keep it warm for later. Return plastic carrier bags to supermarkets for recycling. Use alternative personal transport. Buy a bicycle, roller blades, roller skates, skateboard, scooter etc. Learn to ride a horse - the ultimate in countryside vehicles. Recycle old spectacles, sunglasses and mobile phones. Most opticians process the glasses and charities and websites process old mobiles. Recycle all old electrical products with the appropriate places. Most can be found online, and will even send you an envelope to send to recycling place free of charge. When buying new products look for the Energy Saving Recommended logo. If you use a computer printer – use recycled printer paper. Make margins smaller, use a smaller font, print on both sides of the paper, and use draft mode where possible. Recycle the cartridges at companies such as Cartridge World. Wash clothes in cold water - there’s no need to heat the water, except for extremely dirty or greasy clothes. Washing clothes at 30 degrees instead of 60 degrees can save up to 40% in energy costs. Slide 38: Make sure you fill the dishwasher. A half load uses 75% of the energy required for a full load. Fit energy-saving appliances. A boiler more than 15 years old will generally be inefficient. Replace it and use 25%-40% less energy. If you are using a top loader automatic washing machine switch to a front loader and save 25% on Energy costs. Don’t empty the goldfish tank and fully refill. Firstly fill a large jug(approx 20% of your tank) with tap water and leave this to air for 48 hours. This naturally removes the chlorine. Remove 20% of the water in the tank and refill using the clean de-chlorinated water, this helps maintain the bacterial environment. Change the filter every three weeks or as per instructions – not the complete tank. You use less water and your plants will love the tank water. In winter don’t leave the electric blanket on all night - wear warm pajamas, put an extra blanket on the bed or buy a goose/duck feather filled duvet. Take a hot water bottle to bed. Use a microwave - it’s more energy efficient than a regular cooker. Place your fridge or freezer in the coolest location in the house away from direct sunlight so they work more easily. Dust your fridge motor coils - it could improve efficiency by up to 30%. Clear clutter from the top. Never put hot food in the fridge, wait until it cools down. Try not to leave the fridge door open for long periods and defrost them regularly. Insulate your hot water tank - buy it a jacket, then you can turn your water heater temperature down. Slide 39: Certain appliances are house warming - such as the dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer and oven. In summer use them when the sun goes down to avoid overheating. In winter use them at the times when it is coldest. Remove yourself from junk mailing lists by registering with the Mailing Preference Service. One million trees are said to be used each year for junk mail and then there’s the high carbon usage to deliver to you. Save fuel - switch off your air conditioning. When stuck in traffic switch off the car engine after a minute. Use country roads for less congested driving, less hold-ups and greater fuel efficiency. Keep car tires correctly inflated. Service on time, replacing air filters and check the oil and water regularly. Accelerate smoothly, corner sedately and use top gear for fuel efficient cruising. Take a holiday in your own country. Avoid flying - take the train or bus if you possibly can. If you must travel by plane, try to use newer companies as they are likely to be more fuel-efficient. Change from carbon heavy spare time activities such as go- karting , motor racing, restaurants (with air conditioning), health club saunas and hot tubs. Try activities such as dancing, walking, cycling, bowls, Tai Chi and golf. Have the family over for dinner. Family gatherings are a good way to spend great quality time together. Cooking for larger groups is more carbon efficient and less expensive. Slide 40: Use a humidifier in winter. During the winter months air becomes dry and crisp - using a humidifier makes the cooler air seem warmer. Use a laptop. They use 30% less energy than a desktop computer – possibly because you are always trying to conserve battery life and switch off when not in use. Switching off your computer screen saves enough energy to equal five or more microwave meals. Use residual heat to cook food. When food is cooking in the oven switch off some minutes before the calculated cook time and use the residual heat in the oven to finish the job. If every household installed just one extra energy saving light bulb in their house, it would prevent 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road.