Climate Change in 2024: How Can We Reduce Greenhouse Gasses in the New Year?
2023 was a terrifying year for eco-warriors. Its July was the hottest since at least 1880, yet climate change experts warn that 2024 may break this record due to El Niño. There’s a strong chance that global warming will exceed the dreaded 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels — the Paris Agreement’s limit — in the first half of 2024.
It’s natural to feel helpless upon hearing such a prediction. No single individual can reverse the negative impact of human activity on the planet. However, believing that reducing your greenhouse gas emissions won’t make a difference is erroneous. Do the following to be part of the solution.
Request for a Home Energy Audit
Invite a professional energy assessor or auditor to identify areas of opportunity to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Hearing expert advice on how to make your house more sustainable can guide your decision-making when tackling home improvements.
Your state or local government’s weatherisation or energy office can point you in the right direction. Your utility company may even do it for you for free.
Consumerism is the most significant indirect contributor to global warming. The itch to acquire more possessions fuels the production of household goods.
Manufacturing, shipping and delivering almost everything you order involves burning fossil fuels. This process releases dormant greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, trapping too much heat from the sun and driving climate change.
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle is a step in the right direction. It benefits the environment in various ways — like conserving natural resources — and improves your overall well-being.
If curbing your consumerist tendencies is too much, consciously choosing eco-friendly products is the next best thing. Selecting green construction materials — like thin brick containing 80% less shale and clay, reclaimed wood and recycled steel — when sprucing up your home is an excellent example. Using biodegradable packaging will move the needle in sustainability.
Moreover, you can support brands participating in the circular economy. These companies are actively changing how they do business to eliminate waste and reduce pollution.
Electrify Your Appliances
Swapping your gas, oil or propane machines at home — such as your furnace, stove and water heater — for their electric counterparts can help reduce the demand for fossil fuels. Electricity emits no harmful gasses indoors, lessening your house’s air pollutants.
Mind you, electricity is only as green as its energy source. Coal is dirty, whereas nuclear is clean. Renewable energy sources only generate 22% of the country’s utility-grade electricity, but it’s bound to increase moving forward.
Furthermore, switching to electric appliances can be a considerable expense. It may involve upgrading your electric system. The upfront cost of some replacement equipment can be prohibitive. Take advantage of any financial incentives your utility provider or the authorities extend to save money.
Install a Solar System
Generating electricity at home using the sun — the ultimate source of abundant free energy — is cheaper than ever. On average, the cost of residential solar systems in the U.S. was down to $3.21 in 2022 — from $6.65 per watt in 2010.
Harnessing solar energy makes sense if you live in places like Wilmington, North Carolina, or Palm Bay, Florida, that can reach the 90s in summer. Your roof must also be structurally sound and widely unshaded.
Minimise Organic Waste
Biodegradable substances, like paper and food, contribute to global warming when you let them decompose in the open. Aside from limiting what you throw away, burying or composting your organic waste sequesters methane — a potent climate change gas.
Start a Garden
Plants are carbon sinks, so having a lush garden is a win for the environment. Growing trees, flowers, ornamentals and crops lets you put your compost to good use.
Pedal Between Places
Traditional automobiles add 1.5 billion tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere yearly. In addition to driving an electric car, biking is a definite way to lead a greener — not to mention healthier — life.
Make Climate Action Your New Year’s Resolution
Worrying climate change news in 2024 is a reminder that the world isn’t doing enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Use it as a motivation to cut your carbon footprint in the new year.