Everyone is talking about climate change. Many people are worried and want to do their bit to stop climate change. But how do you live a climate neutral life, and what do you have to pay attention to?
Emissions of greenhouse gases cause global warming
Responsible for climate change is the rise of so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which causes global warming. The most important greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrogen (N2). Their influence on global warming is called global warming potential and measured in CO2 equivalents (CO2e). The global warming potential quantifies the relative contribution to the greenhouse effect compared to the same amount of CO2. We also talk about CO2 emissions.
According to the German Federal Environment Agency, every German produces an average of 11.61 tons of CO2 per year. The aim, according to the authorities, is to reduce the value to less than 1 ton per person per year.
1. Determine CO2 emissions
To make your life more climate-friendly, it is important to first determine how much CO2 you are emitting. With a climate calculator like the one of the Federal Environment Agency, you can calculate your CO2 emissions.
Using a CO2 calculator, you first create your CO2 profile, indicating gender, age, and weight. Also information about housing and mobility are asked. Based on this information, the first value is determined.
Then you can create a carbon footprint. For this purpose, the first information is taken and more detailed facts about the areas of heating, electricity, mobility, nutrition and other consumption are queried. Then the CO2 calculator determines your personal result and compares it to the German average.
2. Reduce CO2 emissions
To live climate neutrally, you have to reduce your CO2 emissions. There are many possibilities for this in all areas of life. The most important ones are presented here below:
Climate neutral heating
When assessing the housing situation, two aspects are particularly important: on the one hand, how the house or apartment is insulated, on the other hand, the type of heating, the annual consumption and whether you have additional heat sources such as stoves or solar panels. Fossil energy sources such as fuel oil, LPG and hard coal perform particularly poorly. Very good are district heating and wood (wood pellets, wood chips, and firewood) evaluated. When it comes to wood fuel, it is assumed that trees grow as much CO2 as they release when they burn.
According to the Federal Environment Agency in Germany, the share of coal electricity and nuclear energy is just under 50 percent of the electricity generated. If you want to be climate neutral, you have to use green electricity.
Again, there are differences and different eco-electricity labels. The “Green Electricity” label guarantees that 100 percent of the electricity comes from renewable energy sources and additionally obliges the green electricity providers to invest a fixed amount per kilowatt-hour in the expansion of renewable energies and innovative energy transition projects. One of the green electricity providers with the “Green Electricity” label is the company “Polarstern”, which also promotes climate protection projects in developing countries. Other providers can be found online.
To determine your CO2 emissions in the area of mobility, you indicate whether and, if so, which vehicle you are using. The question is which type of drive – internal combustion engine or electric – fuel type, fuel consumption, and annual mileage.
To keep your CO2 emissions as low as possible, drive as little as possible with a fuel-powered car. Public transportation, carpools or e-cars are much better off here. By reducing the speed by 20 km/h, you can reduce CO2 emissions by about 20 percent.
Air travel is the biggest climate killer. If you still want to or have to fly, you can determine the generated CO2 emissions via Internet portals such as “Atmosfair” and compensate thereby paying a certain amount. The flight from Munich to Berlin can, for example, be compensated by the payment of an amount of around EUR10.
What we eat also has a big impact on the climate. Plant-based nutrition is much more environmentally friendly than the consumption of meat because factory farming is considered one of the biggest climate killers. In the CO2 calculator of the German Federal Environment Agency, an estimated value is determined.
If you want to know exactly how much CO2 your food causes, that can be done with the website of “Klimatarier”. Here you can determine the climate impact of each dish. Simply drag and drop all the ingredients onto a symbolic plate, then the CO2 emissions will be determined. Of course, it plays a role, whether meat or vegetables, but also whether you prefer regional and seasonal food.
Climate neutral shopping
Your consumption behavior also has a big impact on your carbon footprint. If you buy used items more often and wear your clothes for more than two years, it will protect the environment. According to the German Federal Environment Agency, EUR300 of monthly consumer spending generates an annual CO2 emission of three tons on average.
3. Neutralize CO2 emissions
You can neutralize the CO2 emissions that you cause annually. This is usually done by paying to one of the various organizations that use your money to support environmental projects in developing countries. For the compensation of one ton of CO2 emissions, you pay between four and twelve euros.
4. Choose the right partners
By choosing your business partners, you also have an influence on how companies behave. Many companies have recognized the signs of the times and pay attention to environmental protection, welfare, and climate neutrality. For example, with the GoGreen program, “Deutsche Post” can send its mail climate-neutral and banks voluntarily submit themselves to a so-called sustainability rating.
These are actions that can help against climate change and keeps your footprint climate neutral. Feel free to share this posting with your family and friends to generate awareness around this important topic – thank you in advance for your support.