Buy a hybrid car or save up for solar panels? Shop for local produce or choose compact fluorescent light bulbs? It’s tough to know which environmentally-friendly changes make the most impact.
New research out of the University of California, Berkeley, shows that who you are and where you live can determine which eco-changes would be most beneficial. Christopher Jones, lead author of the study and a researcher in Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, told me more about the findings last week. Below are excerpts from our interview.
What are the elements of a carbon footprint?
We consider the carbon footprint of everything that household consumes. A carbon footprint is a measure of greenhouse gas emissions required for the production, use and disposal of goods and services. That could be anything from transportation to household energy [to] actual goods and services, products, food, water and waste.
Businesses also have a carbon footprint. There is some potential for double counting there. We’re not saying that this is what you’re responsible for. We’re saying, ‘This is the carbon footprint of all your household activity.’ We leave it to individuals to determine what they want to take responsibility for. That’s an important point.
It’s easy for people to understand that the fuel they burn in their vehicles [is] something they’re directly responsible for. They also feel responsible for their energy, but that is indirect. It’s emissions that the company is doing on their behalf. Food is also indirect. Consumers place demand on the economy and the economy provides goods and services to the consumer.
Southeast Asia remains a hot spot for plastic pollution
The use of plastics is deeply embedded in our daily lives, in everything from grocery bags and cutlery to water bottles and sandwich wrap. But the quest for convenience has gone too far and we are failing to use plastics efficiently, wasting valuable resources and harming the environment.
Southeast Asia has emerged as a hot spot for plastic pollution because of rapid urbanization and a rising middle class , whose consumption of plastic products and packaging is growing due to their convenience and versatility.
Diamonds are forever but “James Bond Island” in Phang Nga Bay may not
Thailand’s Department of Mineral Resources will assess the stability of the limestone karst towers, which make up the chain of islands, after several similar rock formations, in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, have collapsed.
Climate Change: how Asia-Pacific will affect the whole planet
Pursuing a green recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19 might sound daunting, but it’s actually a great opportunity to direct recovery spending into stimulating sustainable jobs and growth and fight climate change.
Forget the poetic flap of a butterfly’s wings in Beijing causing rain in Central Park. Climate change issues in Asia-Pacific are measured in superlatives. The world’s biggest population. Two of the three largest carbon dioxide-emitting countries and the largest share of emissions globally.
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