Examples of Ways People Already Live a Low Carbon Lifestyle

Berlin

As the climate crisis continues there are many ways that we all can try to slow it down. The biggest changes need to happen at the political level enforcing sustainable practices, in the meantime there are things you can do as an individual. The easiest thing to do is buy less and switch to low-carbon transit; however, there is even more options ahead of you. If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration then the Guardian has you covered! They recently ran an article looking at some peopel who have already converted to a low-carbon lifestyle.

All our vegetables are seasonal, grown either in our garden or on a local organic farm. My meals are 80% vegan, and 20% vegetarian. Vegan food is delicious – it’s a cuisine.

I try to reuse and repair my belongings. I use the money I save to spend more on products I do buy. My clothes are either secondhand or organic. I have a Fairphone – it’s designed so that the individual parts can be easily replaced when they break. I don’t buy wrapping paper, I reuse an old duvet cover I cut up into squares.

In total, we’ve reduced our home’s carbon emissions by 93%. I’ve enjoyed making all these changes – they’ve been fun – and I feel part of a big movement. I want to be able to say to the next generation: I tried to prevent runaway climate change. If I didn’t, I would feel I was committing a wrong.”

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Iceland’s Carbon Capture Plan Working

Iceland Puffing

Iceland already is one of the greenest places on the planet and they are going even further to try keep the whole planet green. The country is hosting a research project that has sucked 43,000 tons of CO2 out of the air and injected it into the ground. They’re capturing CO2 waste and then mixing it with water to decrease the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and the results are promising. This works well in Iceland due to the volcanic rock in the country (this doesn’t work as well with other types of rock).

Of course, the best thing to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere is to not generate it all by using sustainable energy and efficient energy use. Until we have a fully renewable grid and cut down consumer consumption we need to look into carbon capture.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a technology promoted by the United Nations that can capture up to 90 percent of CO2 emissions that come from fossil-fuel sources and send them to an underground storage site—usually an old oil and gas field or a saline aquifer formation—so they don’t enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

Researchers and engineers in Iceland, alongside experts from France and the United States, have been working on one project that applies such CCS methods called CarbFix. For years, they’ve been holed up at Hellisheidi, a massive geothermal plant on a volcano near Reykjavik. The plant is built on a layer of porous basalt rock formed from cooled lava and, crucially, has easy access to the endless water supply underneath the volcano.

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British Columbia’s Carbon Pricing Works Well

carbon output

British Columbia shows carbon pricing works while another province looks uselessly backwards.

The regressive and antidemocratic Ontario “conservative” government is set to sue the Canadian government for protecting the environment. The argument by the Conservatives is basically that an economy allowed to inefficiently consume non-renewable resources is good and that sustainable policy (carbon pricing) is bad. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds.

Hopefully this wasteful battle between governments ends in the environment’s favour. If Ontario just followed British Columbia’s lead this wouldn’t be an issue and arguably the economy would be in better shape. In B.C. the carbon pricing has reduced emissions while making a more energy efficient economy. Sustainable businesses are seeing growth in B.C. that they wouldn’t see elsewhere.

“This carbon tax is a model for the world that well-designed carbon pricing can be good for the environment and the economy. In the 11 years since B.C. brought in its carbon tax, it’s outpaced the rest of Canada both on emission reduction and GDP growth,” said Stewart Elgie, a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa.

In the meantime, numerous researchers have tried to determine the impact of the tax. According to a 2015 paper, B.C.’s emissions had dropped by between five and 15 per cent since the tax was implemented, and it had a “negligible impact” on the overall economy.

Elgie, of the University of Ottawa, was part of a wide-ranging 2013 study that showed a 19 per cent drop in B.C.’s per capita fuel consumption in the first four years of the tax, while the province’s economy slightly outperformed the rest of the country.

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18 Countries Easily Decreased CO2 Emission with Policy

wind turbine

There’s now even more evidence that countries around the world can reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing economic growth. Carbon intensive industries often argue that regulations will destroy the economy and do little to protect the planet. They couldn’t be more wrong. A recent study looked at emissions and economic growth and found that countries can indeed reduce emissions and increase their GDP.

The study looked at emissions from between 2005 and 2015. Globally, CO2 was on the rise — about 2.2 per cent annually — but in 18 countries, their emissions saw a decline. These 18 account for 28 per cent of global emissions.

What the researchers found most encouraging about their study is that, for the two countries that were the control group, if you removed their economic growth, policies encouraging energy efficiency were linked to cuts in emissions.

“Really, this study shows it’s not a mystery. We have the technology: you put the effort in place, you develop the policies, you fund them, and then you get emission decreases,” Le Quéré said.

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Australia Won’t let a Coal Mine Open due to Climate Change

desert and stars

Open-cut coal mining and Australia have a long history that is all about resource extraction in the hopes of short-term gain. The nation’s long history of reckless destruction seems to be coming to an end since a court recently ruled that a mining operation will not be allowed to open. The reasoning is that the coal industry is too carbon intensive and will actually worsen the planet through it’s emissions.

In his ruling, chief judge Brian Preston said the project should be refused because “the greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs) of the coal mine and its product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions.”
In January, Australia experienced its hottest month on record. Meanwhile, extreme weather events have caused major destruction in large parts of the country — fires have burned about 3% of Tasmania and northern Queensland has been inundated by rain, causing unprecedented flooding. Extreme weather events are forecast to become more frequent in many parts of the world as a result of climate change.

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