Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Carbonfund.org Foundation helps to educate individuals and businesses about global climate change, about the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and then helps these individuals and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.
The seven main greenhouse gas emission are: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); and fluorinated gases such as hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride.
In order to reduce your carbon footprint, it is important to understand the primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2017, the United States’ domestic greenhouse gas emissions were from the following sectors:
- 29% Transportation;
- 28% Electricity;
- 22% Industry;
- 12% Commercial and Residential; and
- 9% Agriculture.
Regarding how to reduce your carbon footprint in the United States, it is most important to focus on your transportation habits and your electricity consumption, which collectively total approximately 60% of all the U.S.’s GHG emissions.
To reduce electricity consumption, you should find ways to be more energy efficient and to use less electricity. For example, you can: more regularly turn off lights around the home or office; install more energy efficient light-bulbs and appliances; or upgrade your home’s windows and insulation.
For the electricity you do consume, you can choose to support renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. For instance, your utility company might provide the option to support green electricity for a small premium or you could purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
The transportation sector includes all of our cars, trucks, busses, boats and planes. Similar to our electricity consumption, you should find ways to use less transportation that is reliant on fossil fuel combustion. For example, you can: walk more often; ride a bike; take fewer trips; carpool with colleagues; work a telecommuting schedule; decide to fly less and choose video-conferences; and purchase more local products which require less shipping.
When we do commute, we can opt for more efficient routes and use more efficient forms of transportation such as commuter rails.
In addition to our domestic electricity consumption and transportation habits, it is also important to understand the sources of global greenhouse gas emissions are slightly different than in the United States. As reported by the EPA and based off work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global GHG emissions in 2010 were from the following sectors:
- 25% Electricity and Heat Production;
- 24% Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU);
- 21% Industry;
- 14% Transportation;
- 10% Other Energy; and
- 6% Buildings.
As the AFOLU sector accounts for approximately 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is important for U.S. consumers to support more globally sustainable forms of forestry and agriculture. For instance, you can: use less paper; support Forest Stewardship Council certified products; and purchase organic products which do not use petro-based additives such as fertilizers and pesticides.
To learn more, please visit Carbonfund.org.