What We Can Do
Although the problem of climate change is immense, we can all contribute towards mitigating the problem. There are many efforts that can be taken at the government level as well as at an individual level that will reduce GHG emissions and, thereby, the impacts of climate change.
Let us first see what can be done at the government level.
- Use sodium vapour lights for street lighting; these are more efficient and environment-friendly than conventional lights and save the taxpayersâ€™ money too.
- Manage vehicular traffic better, using the examples of other countries. France and Italy have begun a â€˜No Car Dayâ€™ and have limited city parking to alternate days for odd and even licensed numbers. This has greatly reduced fuel consumption and pollution.
- Help create a level of opinion that will convince governments, industries, and community leaders that action is necessary. Governments and policy-makers need to promote energy efficiency, and encourage use of environment-friendly energy sources.
- Introduce taxes, standards, and tradable emissions permits for businesses, to encourage them to be more environment-friendly.
- Reward businesses and organizations that are environment-friendly.
- Improve public transport links and encourage people to use these, rather than using their own cars.
Needless to say, efforts made at the government level will have a great positive impact on the environment. However, we cannot count out the contributions that can be made at an individual level. It may seem that individual efforts are less significant. However, if we consider the sheer number of individuals, the cumulative effort will definitely be very significant. At an individual level, we can contribute in various ways.
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In 1998, Japanâ€™s Saitama Prefecture came up with an innovative and unique idea. It distributed the Stop Global Warming Notebook, an environmental household account book, to about 50,000 people and organizations. The Notebook had a CO2 checklist to calculate CO2 emissions, and a fact sheet on global warming. It included calculations of emissions from electricity, gas, water, and waste through a systematic method of multiplication. Respondents were asked to fill it up from June through September. Interestingly, a significant reduction of CO2 was noticeable by November! A large number of citizens admitted that the project had made them conscious about the benefits of energy conservation in their daily lives.
With this, we have covered the concept of mitigation.