Carbon Neutral by 2030. What can you do?
Bristol is the first major UK city to announce a climate emergency and has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030, 20 years before the government’s target of 2050.
Although it’s an ambitious deadline, it’s absolutely necessary if we’re serious about tackling climate change and protecting communities, and our planet.
But what do people mean when they talk about ‘net zero’ emissions? And what can we do to help reach this goal?
What do we mean by net zero?
Net zero simply means eradicating fossil fuels and other sources of emissions wherever possible; for example, switching to renewable energy or changing vehicle fleets to EVs. The residual emissions (there will always be some) should then be matched through offsetting projects.
In order to achieve net zero it means implementing radical infrastructural changes across the entire economy. Bristol wants to be one of the first to take on this challenge with the transformative measures being set out in the Mayor’s climate action commitment, including the launch of City Leap – Bristol’s ambitious project to find a partner to help bring to life energy infrastructure projects.
But what can you do to help?
We can change a lot in our lives to reduce our own carbon footprint.
According to the Committee on Climate Change, the average household produces 8 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. This figure needs to reduce to 1.87 tonnes a year by 2050 to keep the world at a safe temperature.
The size of your carbon footprint depends on a number of factors, but even the slightest alterations to your lifestyle can help. We’ve listed a few ideas of how you can change some behaviours below:
Switch to renewable energy
This is the single most impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint, and it will only take you minutes.
The good news is, Bristol Energy are green! All of our fixed tariff products come from renewable sources. We currently offer customers 100% renewable electricity and 15% green gas.
Think about the carbon footprint of the food you buy
Take a look at where your food has travelled from. If it’s from overseas, it will have cost a lot of carbon to reach your local shop. The best thing to do is buy food that’s locally grown or produced if you can. And make sure you recycle your food waste, it can be processed into renewable energy.
Avoiding meat and dairy is also an excellent easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, currently this industry accounts for 14.5 percent of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions. Looking after livestock is carbon intensive (not to mention the cause of a lot of deforestation), and cows and other animals produce methane when digesting food, which is 25 times worse for the planet than CO². The shrinking of this industry will significantly help our planet with its carbon and methane problem.
Reuse, reduce, recycle
It’s a simple mantra to live by. To tackle climate change, we need to consume less.
Do we really need that new pair of trainers? Or to update our phones every year? We should think about how we can repurpose what we already have, buy more second hand items and scrutinise our need to ‘have more’. Fast fashion is dreadful for the planet, with the clothing industry accounting for 10% of all global emissions. Clothing stock that isn’t bought is either burnt or goes to landfill, evidencing that the industry is needlessly producing and wasting carbon. The chances are if the clothes are very cheap, they won’t have been produced sustainably.
Our planet only has a finite amount of resource and global population is ever growing, so reuse, reduce and recycle whenever possible. Try to get creative with the things you already own and maybe think twice before ordering more items online.
Change or reduce your travel
Travel continues to be one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions globally. As flights abroad continue to get cheaper and people’s appetite for exotic holidays increase, we’ve found ourselves in a dangerous position. Try and think about how carbon intensive your travel might be, can you take a train instead of fly? Or take more holidays locally? Can you get the bus to work? Car share? Or hop on a bike instead? If you do have to fly, research how you can offset your emissions, many airlines have this option when purchasing tickets.
Change your habits in the home
Have you changed your bulbs to LEDs? Do you make sure you switch your appliances off at the plug? (standby mode is a secret energy guzzler) and have you made sure your home is energy efficient? (by sealing and blocking draft gaps and insulating it properly). All of these things will help reduce your carbon footprint.
Keep a look out for our regular energy saving tips on our channels for more advice on how to be energy efficient, or check out the advice given by our friends at the Centre for Sustainable Energy.