Climate Change
The Kyoto Protocol
What You Can Do
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Last Updated:
16 January 2003

Contact the Author:
Eric Bond

Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol

What You Can Do

Everyone Can Help Make a Difference

In January, 2001, the IPCC, which is made up of top climate scientists from around the world, concluded that "there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activity."

While industries, businesses, and governments are responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions, individuals also contribute a significant portion - every time we turn on a light, drive the car to the corner store, start up a computer, or do anything that uses energy.46

The fact is that energy consumption can be reduced very easily, and every bit counts. Consider following these steps to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions - and save money at the same time!

Tips for the Home

  • Electricity

    • Turn off lights, appliances, televisions, and computers when they are not in use. Many electronic appliances and computers have a "standby" mode, which should not be used since it consumes 85 percent of normal power.

    • When buying a new appliance, select the most energy-efficient model that suits your needs.

    • Use energy-efficient, compact, fluorescent light bulbs whenever possible. They last 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy than regular incandescent light bulbs.

  • Heating

    • Clean your furnace filter regularly to ensure good airflow and keep your furnace in good working order.

    • Turning the thermostat down by 1°C can cut your energy bill by a tenth.

    • Use an automatic set-back for your home's heating and air conditioning.

  • Insulation

    • Spending money to re-insulate your home will often pay for itself several times over the years. Many governments also have programs in place to subsidize part of this cost.

    • Seal all leaks around doors, windows, and cracks where heat escapes from your home.

    • Put insulation in gaps between walls.

    • Block and insulate fireplaces that are not in general use.

    • Adding thick insulation (up to 250mm) to your attic can cut your heating costs by 25 percent. This is like a hat for your house.

  • Water

    • Insulate hot-water pipes.

    • Use a modern, condensing, gas water heater with good heating controls.

    • Use energy-efficient washers and dryers, and warm instead of hot water.

    • Take showers instead of baths.

    • Use water-saving shower heads.

  • Kitchen

    • Replace the old refrigerator with an energy-efficient unit.

    • Use a gas stove and keep flames at a low level.

    • Leave lids on pots and pans when cooking.47

Tips for Driving

  • Leave the car at home and walk or bike to make short trips. For longer trips, take the bus. One busload of passengers takes 40 vehicles off the road, saving 70 000 litres of fuel, 175 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and nine tonnes of other pollutants per year.

  • When purchasing a new vehicle, buy the most compact, fuel-efficient model that you can afford and will accommodate your needs.

  • Ensure that your vehicle is in good working order by taking it to a garage for tune-ups at the time intervals that the manufacturer recommends.

  • Avoid idling your vehicle - 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine.

  • Accelerate smoothly and drive the speed limit. Not only does this save wear on your vehicle, but it also reduces fuel consumption.48

By making a few positive changes to our everyday lifestyle, real results towards reducing the effects of climate change can be achieved.

Further Reading

The following web sites offer many other valuable discussions about Climate Change: