Mitigating climate change – reducing our greenhouse gas emissions
Introduction: greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide
Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (including water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) affect the earth’s energy balance and climate. They act to make the earth’s surface warmer as they absorb and emit heat energy in all directions (including downwards). Scientists have determined that, when all human and natural factors are considered, the Earth’s climate balance has been altered towards warming, with the biggest contributor being increases in carbon dioxide (CO2, and commonly referred in shorthand as “carbon”) which was responsible for about 81 per cent of the UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.
Most of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the use of energy – for example driving cars, heating our homes or manufacturing goods. Emissions can be reduced by making our homes more insulated and energy efficient, and by switching to low-carbon fuels. This, along with action to tackle emissions from other sources, will be necessary to reduce our impact on climate change and help meet UK carbon targets.
The Government publishes regional statistics on CO2 emissions every year. This shows the three key sources of greenhouse gas emissions:
- Commercial (businesses) and Industrial
- Domestic (homes)
The latest data on carbon emissions in Waltham Forest (published in June 2019 for 2017) is:
||Total CO2 emissions
||Per capita emissions
||149.3 kilo tonnes CO2
||317.9 kilo tonnes CO2
||195.2 kilo tonnes CO2
||662.1 kilo tonnes CO2
2.4 tonnes CO2 per person
This data does not include everything. For example, emissions from the production of goods which are imported perhaps from as far away as China are not included. So our shopping choices contribute to global emissions and climate change.