The Importance of Reducing CO2 Emissions in the Battle Against Climate Change

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Imagine this. You’re planning a family vacation. Earlier, packing was simple. If you’re going closer to the coasts, pack for heat and humidity. If you’re going up the mountains, pack layers of sweaters. That was the hard and fast rule.

But it’s 2046. It’s no longer the same. The weather is unpredictable. It is -18°C in Hyderabad and 22°C in Mussoorie. When you’re going on vacation, pack for both extremes of weather. Yes, drastic effects of climate change are here but we haven’t caught up.

That could be the new normal if we don’t step back and act today.

CO2 is a natural gas, how does it cause climate change?

Carbon-di-Oxide has been around since the Earth was formed. It’s essential to growth and survival. Then how did it become a significant contributor to climate change and global warming? 2 reasons—burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

The burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The carbon combines with oxygen to form CO2. Similarly, deforestation means a lot of CO2 remains in the atmosphere. Because dead trees and vegetation can no longer absorb CO2 during photosynthesis.

In 2011, our activities caused 150x more CO2 emissions than in 1850. Though CO2 is natural, increased levels of it acts as a greenhouse gas. It lets the radiation from the sun in and traps it in the atmosphere. This increases the temperature and warms the surface causing global warming.

Is there a way to reduce CO2 emissions & stop climate change?

This is the biggest challenge we are facing right now. Yes, there is a way to reduce CO2 emissions. But we can’t stop climate change. We can slow it down and reduce the negative effects it is causing on us.

To decelerate global warming and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, all countries set a goal under the Paris Agreement. We must limit global warming to 1.5°C. To achieve that goal, science says we must reach net zero emissions globally by 2050.

Net zero is emitting as little CO2 emissions as possible. And the little emissions that do release must be reabsorbed. Watch this video for a quick 30 second explainer on what it means.

Related article: The Importance of Reducing CO2 Emissions in the Battle Against Climate Change

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What can you do to slow climate change down?

Today, January 28th, is International Reducing CO2 Emissions Day. If you haven’t already started acting, start today. Because the life you live today matters to your future generations.

The first step is to understand the sources of CO2 emissions. Use this free carbon footprint calculator and identify your contribution to climate change. Once you enter your details, here is how your result will look like:

Some ways to steer clear of CO2 emissions

While most of the CO2 emissions come from large industries, about 18% of it comes from our daily activities. And here are some ways to limit them.

Increase your energy efficiency
Get more out of less. LEDs save 90% of lighting energy costs. Replace old washing machines, refrigerators with newer energy efficient ones. Wait till you have a full load of clothes and wash them in cold water. Dry them out in the sun instead of in a dryer.

Make wise transportation choices
Choose vehicles that run on biofuel or electricity. Opt for public transport or walk/cycle short distances. It helps both you and the planet stay fit. Now that the scare of covid is almost gone, get back to carpooling. Even better if you can avoid daily commutes. That’s another reason to work from home. In cases when you have to drive, don’t accelerate and break harshly. It’s not only dangerous but also wastes more fuel.

Watch your secondary carbon footprint
Buy locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season. Drink safe tap water instead of buying packaged water bottles. Upcycle instead of disposing. Carry your own cloth bags for shopping. Buy good quality clothes that last a few years instead of fast fashion that lasts a few months.

These are things we know but don’t do without second thought. While we’re having a good life, the planet is bearing the brunt of it. And mother Earth doesn’t deserve it.

Making these practices a habit helps immensely reduce CO2 emissions. Encourage your loved ones to do it too. It takes a village, in our case—an entire planet, to reach our climate change goals. Let’s all become climate change warriors. Let’s help make the world remain a safe place for our future generations.

Can we count on you to reduce your carbon shoe size this year?