Climate change: study reveals 10 best tips to reduce our carbon footprint

108239490 vegdiet index getty 3 - Climate change: study reveals 10 best tips to reduce our carbon footprintImage copyright
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Switching to a vegan diet can help but doesn't quite have the impact of other measures

The authors have listed the best ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

The response to the Covid-19 crisis has shown that people are ready to accept radical change if they deem it necessary, they say.

And the report adds that government priorities must be reorganized.

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Protecting the planet must become the first duty of all decision makers, say the researchers.

The authors invite the public to contribute by adopting the measures to reduce carbon emissions contained in the report, which is based on the analysis of 7,000 other studies.

At the top of the list is living without a car, which saves an average of 2.04 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person per year.

Next comes driving a battery-powered electric car – 1.95 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person per year – and one less long-haul flight per year – 1.68 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person.

Switching to a vegan diet will help, but it's not enough to solve the transportation problem, as research shows.

The report also says that popular activities like recycling are useful, but do not reduce emissions as much.

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Change of mentality

Lead author Dr Diana Ivanova of the University of Leeds told BBC News: "We need a complete change of mindset.

"We have to agree on the amount of carbon we can each emit within the limits of what the planet can bear – and then live fully within these limits.

"The top 10 options are available to us now, without the need for controversial and costly new technologies."

Dr Ivanova said the containment measures taken to stem the coronavirus showed that many people could live without a car if public transport, walking and cycling were improved.

His research also shows that it is wealthy people who generally travel more by plane, drive larger cars and consume the most.

A "moral question"

She said, "The whole world is suffering from climate change, but it's not the average citizen who travels regularly by plane – it's a small group, and yet aviation is under-taxed.

It is a moral problem ". In its ranking, the purchase of renewable energy and the use of public transport occupy the fourth and fifth places.

The sixth is the insulation of your home, which saves 0.895 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Seventh, switching to a vegan diet saves 0.8 tonnes.

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Insulating your home effectively is an important step

There are other major actions such as the use of heat pumps, the replacement of polluting stoves (in developing countries) with better cooking methods and the heating of buildings using renewable energies.

Dr. Ivanova said that if people implemented these measures, it would save about nine tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per person per year.

Current annual household emissions are around 10 tonnes in the United Kingdom and 17 tonnes in the United States.

A "precious" study

The study, which will soon be published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, indicates that the following measures are useful, but less beneficial for the climate: green roofs, using less paper, buying more durable items , reducing the thermostat and recycling, which saves 0.01 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, according to Dr Ivanova.

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Outside containment, reducing the number of flights can significantly help reduce carbon emissions

Some of these conclusions could be called into question. Polls suggest that some people think that fighting climate change is as important as fighting the virus, for example, but others are not.

Professor Tommy Wiedmann of the University of New South Wales in Australia said: "This is a valuable study. But it only looks at the carbon footprint and not other impacts like water shortage due to lithium extraction for electric car batteries.

Green Alliance think tank Libby Peake told BBC News: "People shouldn't stop good practices like recycling, which saves a little carbon while avoiding waste and saving the resources."

"Better design allows people to buy fewer but better things and live in buildings with a lower carbon footprint. These savings are not necessarily covered by this study."

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