How can I reduce my climate impact?
We all need to change our habits and our way of consuming to reach the climate goals. There is much that you can do today to reduce your climate impact.
Our climate impact averages 9 tonnes per person per year in, which is significantly higher than the global average. The Paris Agreement aims to keep the global average temperature rise well below two degrees and strive to keep the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. This means that the average global emissions should not exceed 1 tonne per person by 2050.
What we as individuals do is an important factor in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
All the choices we make are important and can help reduce our emissions. If you feel that your choices do not affect enough and feel unimportant – think again! How you act can influence others to make more climate-smart choices. By traveling by plane less often, changing our eating habits and buying used ones instead of new ones makes great climate benefits and can reduce your climate impact by several tons per year.
The last 2-3 tonnes of emissions per person are difficult to influence because they are emissions that result from, for example, the construction of infrastructure, consumption in the public sector.
The responsibility for reducing emissions lies not only with the consumer but is also shared with the public sector and the business community.
Our travel habits have the greatest impact on climate
For many, air travel is the biggest source of emissions. Traveling less frequently and being away longer when traveling is a way to reduce its climate impact. For example, a round-trip trip to southern Spain emits about 1 ton per traveler (including the high-altitude effect). Traveling less often, choosing a shorter route and being away longer when you travel are ways to reduce your climate impact.
On your flight ticket, you can see your climate impact or you can use ICAO’s flight emission calculator to calculate your emissions. Note that these emissions do not include the so-called high altitude effect, which means that your emissions are probably about twice as large during longer flights. This when emissions at high altitudes give rise to condensation strips and the formation of nitrogen oxides which also have a climate warming effect.
Choosing the train or traveling by public transport is always better compared to a fossil-fueled car. If you need to take the car then it is better to cooperate and choose an environmentally friendly car. An average-sized car emits almost 2 kg of greenhouse gases per mile on average. If a family travels approximately 2000 km per year, this corresponds to 4 tonnes per year.
What we eat plays a big role in the climate
Reducing our consumption of certain foods such as red meat is of great importance in reducing our emissions. Today, only the consumption of meat causes just under a ton of emissions per person and year on average in.
Climate impact on different foods
Recommends that we eat no more than 500 grams of red meat per person and week for health reasons, today we eat about 600 grams on average. Being able to say how much meat you can eat on an average week for you to come under a total climate impact of two tons depends on how much you travel and consume in general.
The simple answer is that we need to eat less red meat and cheese. Reducing the consumption of red meat is an effective measure to reduce our climate impact and is especially important as it is difficult to reduce emissions from production. Exactly how much is sustainable to meet the climate goals is difficult to say as it depends on how much you release in the rest.
Although meat consumption must decrease for the sake of the climate, grazing animals also have a positive impact on the environment, for example through increased biodiversity.
How we choose to live affects the climate
Choosing to live in a smaller area and switching to more climate-smart warming can make a big difference depending on what your current accommodation looks like.
You can also make an impact by making your home more energy-efficient. Insulate windows and doors to reduce the need for heating.
You can reduce your energy use by lowering the indoor temperature slightly. A household with hot water and use a dishwasher instead of washing under running water. Wash your clothes at a lower temperature and hang your laundry instead of tumble drying. Keep the right temperature in your appliances, minus 18 degrees in the freezer and five degrees in the fridge.
If you need new furniture, appliances, and electronics, remember that reusing and buying used is always better than buying new. Repair instead of replacing your appliances and replace old appliances with more energy-efficient time.
Climate compensation as a last resort
It is always better to avoid giving rise to emissions if you want to reduce your climate impact. But if that fails, you can compensate for the climate. Climate compensation means that you pay for a reduction of a specified amount of emissions elsewhere or that the amount of emissions is absorbed in forest and land. This allows you to compensate for emissions from, for example, air travel or your entire lifestyle. Or why not give it as a gift!
There are different ways to compensate for the climate. The most common is to buy an emission reduction created through climate compensation projects, often in developing countries. Typical projects can, for example, be energy measures in which fossil fuels are replaced with renewable energy, for example by replacing cleaner stoves or by installing solar panels. Other projects may aim to increase the absorption and storage of carbon dioxide through, for example, tree plantings.
In order to ensure that the emission reduction is real, the projects should be certified according to one of the standards that have been developed. The Gold Standard is an example of a certification that has been developed by environmental organizations and that places high demands on both assured emission reductions and sustainable development.
Our savings are important for climate change
How you save your money also affects the climate. To a large extent, our savings today do not contribute to the change needed to achieve climate goals. Whether you have money in a savings account, in a fund or in shares of a company, your money can benefit the climate. It may be worth looking at what investments you have and choosing funds, shares or a bank that has a good climate profile. You can also take an active role in influencing how your funds, the companies you invest in or your bank act.