Your Carbon Footprint is Fine, it’s the Wealthy that Need to Change

tree with climate knowledge

There’s no doubt that we can all reduce our carbon footprint, but there’s one segment of the population who drastically need to cut their carbon output: the rich. Recent headlines have made it clear that the poor are impact most by climate issues, while the rich can afford solutions the rest of us cannot. What’s more, according to the UN, the wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%. The richest 5% contributed 37% of emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.

If we’re going to avoid climate catastrophe then we need the polluter elite to do their part – not just the rest of us.

He continued: “Rich people who fly a lot may think they can offset their emissions by tree-planting schemes or projects to capture carbon from the air. But these schemes are highly contentious and they’re not proven over time. 

The wealthy, he said, “simply must fly less and drive less. Even if they own an electric SUV that’s still a drain on the energy system and all the emissions created making the vehicle in the first place”.

Sam Hall, from the Conservative Environment Network, told BBC News: “It’s right to emphasise the importance of fairness in delivering (emissions cuts) – and policy could make it easier for people and businesses to go green – through incentives, targeted regulation and nudges.

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A Net-Zero Economy will Save $30 Trillion a Year

Phramacy

Economist argue that efficiency produces profits, which is why we see mass layoffs and (bizarrely) large payouts for executives. 20th century economists ignored a lot of opportunities for more efficient operations because the costs weren’t put on corporations themselves. The costs of running the business were covered by the governments. There is no better example of this than how companies treat the environment.

An easy example is in Alberta where companies in the tar sands have ransacked vast tracts of land for low-quality bitumen while leaving the costs of cleanup on the government. If companies had to pay for their environmental damage then the tar sands wouldn’t be profitable.

Finally economists have caught up to what environmentalists have been saying for decades: if we don’t act on the damage done to the environment by companies then all companies will suffer (obviously nature suffers more). Recent studies show that not getting to a carbon net-zero economy soon will cost the global economy $30 trillion a year due to ecological destruction.

Sylvan said he was surprised that so many saw net-zero action as “economically desirable, even on the pretty short timeline that we’re talking about.”

Most of the international climate economists questioned for the survey in February said they had become more concerned about climate change over the last five years. The most common reason they gave was the escalation in recent extreme weather events, which have included climate-linked wildfires and heat waves.

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Carbon Pricing in Canada is Constitutional

Phramacy

A few years ago the federal government in Canada started charging for carbon wastage by people and companies. The 2018 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act was passed to ensure that every province in Canada is doing the bare minimum to avoid catastrophic climate change. This led Conservative leaders of a couple provinces to challenge the government’s ability to do this (yes, the same Conservative party which recently decided to not acknowledge climate change, and the same Ontario Conservative government which paid millions of dollars to illegally break a cap and trade business deal with California and Quebec, sigh). The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the federal government’s approach to reducing carbon emissions by putting a price on carbon.

Carbon pricing isn’t taking direct climate action, but it’s a good step in the right direction and signals to the world that Canada is at least willing to do something.

The full impact of this ruling will be felt over the coming years as this opens up more climate-friendly action and cases to move forward.

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The Dirtiest way to Store Carbon is the Best

One of the best carbon storage systems we can put into action to slow down climate change is right under our fight: dirt. Yes, the quality of dirt is on a spectrum between inert clumps and soil rich with with life. When it comes to using dirt to store carbon we want to create as much soil as possible because the better the quality of soil the better it is at capturing carbon. Plus, is we improve the quality of soil we will get better crop yields, happier insects, and all our plants will thank us.

As the largest terrestrial carbon sink, which stores three times more carbon than the entire atmosphere, soil offers a vast repository with immense, untapped capacity. Since the beginning of agriculture, food production has removed about half, or 133 gigatons, of the carbon once stored in agricultural soil, and the rate of loss has increased dramatically in the last two centuries, creating a large void to be filled. Restoring this carbon stockpile would sequester the equivalent of almost one fifth of atmospheric carbon, bringing greenhouse gas concentrations nearly to pre–industrial revolution levels and making soil less erodible. Let’s be realistic—we’re not going to restore 133 gigatons of carbon any time soon. But working toward this goal could be a centerpiece of a multifaceted plan to address both erosion and climate change.

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What you can do:

Stop using pesticides and instead use natural pest deterrence method.

Defend farm and wetlands in your area from development.

This Shoe Company Celebrates Its Carbon Footprint

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A new UK-based shoe company, Allbirds, wants you to know it cares about your carbon footprint. The clothing industry alone is estimated to contribute 4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions per year, meaning the industry has a lot of room for more efficient and sustainable practices. Allbirds was founded with the goal of making sustainable shoes and to inspire the entire clothing and fashion industry to be more ecologically sustainable.

Of course, the best thing you do when it comes to fashion is to not buy new clothes and repair the ones you already one.

Allbirds’ environmental goal is to eliminate carbon emissions from its products, from the raw materials it uses to the CO2 produced by shoes as they decompose in landfill sites. Its approach is to measure its emissions, reduce its environmental impact by including recycled or natural fabrics, and then offset anything that remains.

Measuring emissions is complex because there are several processes involved in producing goods, but the company estimates the carbon footprint of an average Allbirds product is 7.6 kg CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent emissions). That equates to putting five loads of laundry through a dryer, it has calculated, and compares to 12.5 kg CO2e for the average standard sneaker, per a method used by Allbirds based in part on an MIT study that looked at how to reduce emissions in footwear production.

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