Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Steps towards sustainability: how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

C&C model: Prof. Stephen Schneider. Click on graph for full screen. Do not despair after reading our previous post criticizing carbon credits. Carbon pricing is still desirable, providing there are real and progressive caps, that is, targets that effectively reduce greenhouse gases. The World Resources Institute data on emissions makes it clear where the cuts must begin: heating and energy (24%), transport (13.5%), land use changes including deforestation (18.2%), agriculture (13.2%), and industry (10.4%). The percentages represent their present share of world GHG emission.

Among no-brainer steps to a better world are:
  • insulation and retrofit of buildings, which leak colossal amounts of heat from fossil fuels; the public is slowly realizing this will also create millions of green jobs.
  • efficient public transportation: buses, LRT, trains
  • aid to poor countries for avoided deforestation, with local control
  • agriculture: change to local and organic from long-distance, fossil-fuel, fertilizer and chemical
  • industry: positive incentives for "green" technology combined with taxes and sanctions against waste. Ideally, this should be done internationally so polluters have no place to flee to, and "bad" corporations are not rewarded by profits at the expense of good guys. SRI and corporate accountability measures will encourage investment in the good.
  • green consumerism, which adds to the impact of SRI.
  • Last but not least, international governance under the UNFCCC framework, and not the energy-guzzling schemes put forward by G8, the World Bank and WTO.
How it can be done:

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