Thanks to Bill Gates there has been a lot of press recently about the effect of technology can have in reducing CO2 emissions. Technology will play a role, but history shows the transition to new technologies has not led to a reduction in emissions. Look at LED lights as an example. This is because the efficiency gains are countered by increased usage and emissions caused by the transition to the new technology.
Technology without other changes are not enough. One key step is stopping the fossil fuel coming out of the ground, which will need government action. But a second key step is reducing the creation of carbon
So what can you do?
The biggest influence anybody can have is by raising their voice in their workplace and in any other organisation they are part of. Changing organisational and system behaviour tends to have bigger effect than what one person can achieve domestically.
But having said that if we all took steps to improve our carbon footprint that would make a significant contribution.
In terms of personal carbon footprint there 4 areas about equal size
Reduce meat and dairy consumption. Especially beef and lamb
Reduce food waste.
Avoid air freighted food.
Flying is a very high carbon activity. And there is no technological solution to long haul flights. Only fly for really good reasons
Driving – even with electric cars this will be a carbon intensive activity due to manufacture and maintenance. So we need to drive less, drive more carefully, use other forms of transport. Electric bikes are the best form of personal transport from a CO2 perspective.
3, Home Energy
All basic stuff like good insulation, turning things off (lights, TVs, computers, etc), do not over-heat the home. And we do need technical solutions for improving our older housing stock.
4. Everything Else
Look at the embedded carbon in everything you buy.
And also question whether you need to buy it in the first place – can you fix the existing version?
And when investing, make sure your investments are placed in funds that support the future.
If you want to read more can we suggest “There is no planet B” by Mike Berners-Lee. It’s an easy read, data driven and full of practical proposals. And there is a massive overlap with the B Corporation ethos.