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Working towards a change........

Each one of us, just by the seemingly inconsequential act of doing our daily chores, emits carbondioxide that accumulates in the atmosphere to cause global warming. Our drive to work or school burns fossil fuel in a vehicle causing global climate change. These few simple steps can help us heal the world.

Transport
For individuals this is perhaps the biggest contributor to their footprint and needs to be reduced. Transport Demand Management, which includes urban planning that can reduce the demand for travel and provision of information and educational techniques that can reduce car usage and lead to an efficient driving style can support GHG mitigation .This can be achieved by using bicycles for short distances, using public transport or even a carpool.

Medium term mitigation potential for CO2 emissions from the aviation sector can come from improved fuel efficiency, which can be achieved through a variety of means, including technology, operations and air traffic management

Green Power
In India, the reduction in energy intensity is due to both reduced energy intensity of the manufacturing sector and the increasing share of the service sector, including the IT

industry, which tends to be much less energy intensive than the manufacturing of steel, cement and other primary materials. The services sector, however accounts for only six percent of the share of India’s energy consumption while the manufacturing sector accounts for about 50 per cent. Household use of fuels, on the other hand, is likely to increase GHG emissions faster as more kerosene and LPG is used for cooking in place of fuel wood and charcoal, and as Indian households acquire more appliances and elctronic products. The rise in commercial buildings in urban areas too will add significantly to future fuel and electricity use.

Mitigation measures typically focus on technological solutions. Energy efficient buildings, while limiting the growth of CO2 emissions, can also improve indoor and outdoor air quality, improve social welfare and enhance energy security.

There is a dire need to move to renewable sources of energy. Many companies are already installing wind energy to assure constant supply to their plants and individuals can help by installing solar water heaters. The use of biofuels needs to be encouraged. They play an important role in addressing GHG emissions in the transport sector, depending on their production pathway.

Agriculture
Over the past couple of years, the technological advances in agriculture have dramatically increased crop yields. But, despite these improvements, agriculture is still highly dependent on climate since sunlight, temperature, and precipitation are the main drivers of crop growth. Since the industrial revolution, we have been changing the global climate by emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere resulting in higher global temperatures and increased climatic variability.

There is a need to reduce energy-use in agriculture and promoting cost-effective alternatives to fossil fuel use in agriculture.

The agricultural sector can reduce its own emissions, offset emissions from other sectors by removing CO2 from the atmosphere (via photosynthesis) and storing the carbon in soils, and reduce emissions in other sectors by displacing fossil fuels with biofuels. Through adoption of agricultural best management practices, U.S. farmers can reduce emissions of nitrous oxide from agricultural soils, methane from livestock production and manure, and CO2 from on-farm energy use. Improved management practices can also increase the uptake and storage of carbon in plants and soil.

Furthermore, biomass from the agricultural sector can be used to produce biofuels, which can substitute for a portion of the fossil fuels currently used for energy.

Agriculture can also reduce GHG emissions by providing biofuels—fuels derived from biomass sources such as corn, soybeans, crop residues, trees, and grasses.

Application of best management practices in agriculture and use of biofuels for GHG mitigation can have substantial co-benefits. Increasing the organic matter content of soils (which accompanies soil carbon storage) improves soil quality and fertility, increases water retention, and reduces erosion. More efficient use of nitrogen can reduce nutrient runoff and improve water quality in both surface and ground waters. Similarly, improving manure management to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions is beneficial to water and air quality and reduces odors. Biofuel use, particularly substituting energy crops for imported petroleum for transportation, has important energy security benefits. However, as biofuel use expands, it will be important to ensure that biomass is produced responsibly, taking both environmental and socio-economic impacts into consideration. Considerable mitigation potential is also available from reductions in methane and nitrous oxide emissions in some agricultural systems.

www.pewclimate.org

Forestry
Forest ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate change. According to the IPCC reports, even with a modest global warming of 1-2 degrees Celsius, most forest ecosystems will be impacted through changes in forest species composition, biodiversity and plant productivity. Forests play a crucial economic, social and cultural role in India. Many river systems originate in forests and anchor rich biodiversity. Forests provide timber, industrial wood, fuel wood and non-timber products to the local communities and the national economy.

Changing climate requires dynamic forest planning and management strategies. There is a need to incorporate climate change concern in the long-term forest planning and policy making process. Examples of forest policies, which may reduce the vulnerability of forest ecosystems to climate change, include preventing fragmentation of forests, forest conservation, enhancing the coverage under protected areas and linking them, large afforestation with multiple species to reduce pressure on natural forests, and involvement of local communities in forest conservation and management. India has a large afforestation programme of over one million hectares annually and also has a plan to bring a third of the geographic area under forest cover. These newly planted forests, particularly the long rotation species such as teak, will be subjected to changing climate parameters. Thus, it is important to consider and incorporate adaptation practices even in the afforestation programme…..
Source: Survey of the Environment 2007.. The Hindu…

Forest-related mitigation activities can considerably reduce emissions from sources and increase CO2 removals by sinks at low costs, and can be designed to create synergies with adaptation and sustainable development. About 65% of the total mitigation potential is located in the tropics and about 50% of the total could be achieved by reducing emissions from deforestation.

Waste management
Waste minimization and recycling provide important indirect mitigation benefits through the conservation of energy and materials. Existing waste management practices can provide effective mitigation of GHG emissions from this sector: a wide range of mature, environmentally effective technologies are commercially available to mitigate emissions and provide co-benefits for improved public health and safety, soil protection and pollution prevention, and local energy supply.

Management of municipal solid waste presents many opportunities for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Source reduction and recycling can reduce emissions at the manufacturing stage, increase carbon sinks, and avoid landfill methane emissions. Diverting organic materials from landfills also reduces methane emissions.

Sending your domestic waste to the landfill contributes to climate change. This is because the heavy vehicle that takes your garbage to the landfill releases greenhouse gases as it burns fuel. And when your waste begins to decompose in the landfill, it releases methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane is one of the key greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Composting your domestic waste means fewer truck loads of waste transported to a landfill or industrial composting facility which means fewer fossil fuels are burnt and less GHGs emitted. Using your home-made compost means less GHG emission in the production, packaging and transportation of fertilizers and soils. So by composting, we not only reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gases released into the atmospheres, but by nurturing trees and plants we also help in the process of removing CO2 (a GHG) from the atmosphere.

Lifestyle
Changes in lifestyle and behaviour patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. Changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns that emphasize resource conservation can contribute to developing a low-carbon economy that is both equitable and sustainable and reduce GHG emissions. Education and training programmes can help overcome barriers to the market acceptance of energy efficiency, particularly in combination with other measures.Changes in occupant behaviour, cultural patterns and consumer choice and use of technologies can result in considerable reduction in CO2 emissions related to energy use in buildings.

Changes in lifestyle and behaviour patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. Changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns that emphasize resource conservation can contribute to developing a low-carbon economy that is both equitable and sustainable and reduce GHG emissions. Education and training programmes can help overcome barriers to the market acceptance of energy efficiency, particularly in combination with other measures.Changes in occupant behaviour, cultural patterns and consumer choice and use of technologies can result in considerable reduction in CO2 emissions related to energy use in buildings.

Changes in lifestyle and behaviour patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. Changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns that emphasize resource conservation can contribute to developing a low-carbon economy that is both equitable and sustainable and reduce GHG emissions. Education and training programmes can help overcome barriers to the market acceptance of energy efficiency, particularly in combination with other measures.Changes in occupant behaviour, cultural patterns and consumer choice and use of technologies can result in considerable reduction in CO2 emissions related to energy use in buildings.

Other practices
In industry, management tools that include staff training, reward systems, regular feedback, documentation of existing practices can help overcome industrial organization barriers, reduce energy use, and GHG emissions.

Many industrial facilities in developing countries are new and include the latest technology with the lowest specific emissions. However, many older, inefficient facilities remain in both industrialized and developing countries. Upgrading these facilities can deliver significant emission reductions.

Together, we can make a difference

Use the green power
Move to renewable sources of energy. Buy devices that are more energy efficient. It will be easier on your pocket in the long run and you will recover the initial slightly higher cost in no time. Move to CFLs from incandescent bulbs can make a great difference in energy consumption.
When leaving rooms, make sure you switch off the fan, lights and other appliances. Unplug your mobile phone charger as soon as its done charging.It helps to switch off TV and music systems even though they have a sytandby function. Some countries have made it mandatory for all new appliances to do away with the standby button.

Be automobile-wise
Keep your cars well tuned. Do not idle your car for long periods.
Cycle or walk to your school if its walking distance. Do the same for your neighbourhood market. Remember walking is a good exercise.
Use public transport and carpool wherever possible.
Get your car emission level checked at regular intervals for efficient performance.
Remove extra weights from your vehicle to reduce the fuel consumption.
Make sure that you carry drinking water before setting off so that you are not dehydrated on the way. While buying bottled water is convenient, it has a big carbon footprint.
Though it takes more time, train journeys are kinder to the planet’s health than swooping around in aircrafts.

Improve your surroundings
Plant trees. Our green friends are the best ways to trap and fix carbon to the ground and prevent it from damaging the atmosphere. These activities will not only transform you in to an eco-warrior, they will also be light on our pockets.
Do your weekly grocery shopping while going out on an errand or while returning from work rather than making special trips.
Make sure that the garbage is segregated into biodegradable and non-biodegradable, collected regularly and disposed in the correct manner.
Generate as little waste as possible-especially paper.
Buy products with the least possible packaging to reduce waste.

Other practices
A considerable portion of greenhouse emissions relates to the production of food, its packaging, and its transport to market. Choices of food depend on factors like— health, costs, cultural and religious considerations, ethical concerns, and little understood personal cravings and temptations. Greenhouse and energy related concerns are normally considered secondary when it comes to personal food choices. Vegetarian or quasi-vegetarian diet is less consumptive of energy. Hence, its important to
Eat wisely. Choose foods that are local, organic and low on the food chain whenever possible.
While exotic fruits and vegetables from different countries are enticing, their transportation leaves a carbon trail. Eat local food.
Compost organic waste.
Recycle paper and other recyclable items.
Spread the message across and make a strong network of green crusaders to bring a change at our levels.

 

 

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