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What can individuals do to slow climate change?

Last updated 22 June 2004
Originally answered 19 April 2000

Full Question

What can individuals do to slow climate change?


As a first step, you can quantify your own energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).  This will help you identify the most promising opportunities for reducing emissions.  There are several Web sites that can help you do that, most of which are conveniently listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Calculators Web site. 

Alternatively, you can start with national emissions data and compute per capita or per household emissions. There are relatively recent emissions data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2003 and from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2003. Should you wish to calculate per capita or per household emissions from those reports, note that in 2000 there were 281.4 million people and 105.5 households in the U.S.

For estimates of household emissions, there are other sources of information that use older data -- but that present it in a more useful manner in the context of our question.  For example, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) provides information on Average Greenhouse Gas Emissions per U.S. Household using 1998 data.

There is a lot of information available on ways individuals and households can slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  Many of the online "calculators" mentioned above include practical suggestions.  Here are a few other Web sites with accurate and useful information:


The above entry is posted under the following topic(s): Mitigation of Climate ChangeEnergy End-Use and InfrastructureTransportationBuildingsOther

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