The simplest way to counteract the our lemming-like rush to a Jungle-Desert-Monsoon plagued Planet, is Energy Efficiency -- practiced on a personal and local basis.
Climate Change Hamilton
Some of the ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ includes:
Switch off your car if you plan to be parked for more than 15 seconds
Try to carpool, take public transit, or use other forms of transportation
Slow down! For every 10km over 100km/h you drive, you lose approximately 10% of your fuel efficiency
Have regular maintenance checks on your vehicle and keep tires inflated
When taking shorter trips, avoid flying on a plane and take a train instead
If possible, try working from home one day per week
Monitor your fuel consumption
Clean radiators and baseboard heaters once a year to keep them running efficiently
Regularly service your HVAC systems to keep them running efficiently
Change furnace air filter once every 2-3 months
Turning down/up thermostats to reduce heating and cooling requirements seasonally or while buildings are unoccupied
Close Fireplace dampers (except during use)
Close doors and heating/cooling registers in rooms that are unused
Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows
Close curtains at night during the winter and on hot days in the summer
Use laptops instead of desktops when possible
Always completely fill your laundry machines and dishwashers before turning on a load and use energy-saving cycle settings
Rinse and wash clothes with cold water
Hang clothes to dry
Set refrigerator temperature around 3°C and freezer temperature to around -18°C
Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs
Turn off lights when not needed or use timers, occupancy sensors, or natural light when possible
[Source: senseandsustainability.net ]
Perhaps the second simplest way to counteract the our damn-the-smokestacks approach to creating Modern Society, is convincing the producers that Energy Efficiency -- can save them Big Money.
No wonder GE and its allies are so excited about the potential. For instance, improving the fuel efficiency of the world's power plants by a measly 1% would generate $66 billion in savings each year, GE estimates.
When it comes to finding and picking that "Low-Hanging Fruit" that could help to reverse that crash-course were on, with the projected resource-allocation misery -- building smarter appliances not only makes sense, it makes money.
Low-hanging Fruit in Greenhouse Gas Reduction: Energy Efficiency
by Craig Shields, 2greenenergy.com -- Dec 6, 2012
As we frequently discuss, the real low-hanging fruit when it comes to greenhouse gas reduction lies more in energy efficiency than it does in renewables. Efficiency invokes largely proven and inexpensive technologies, and holds the promise of putting many millions of people to work deploying them.
Sensors in our roads, appliances, cars, power generation equipment -- in essentially every physical object in our daily lives -- all collect data, the net effect of which is reduced power.
My grandma used to say to me: "Waste not, Want not."
Never really knew what it meant until I had a chance to join the ranks of: Work-Buy-Consume. ... Repeat.
As a Consumer society, we tend to "waste" way more than we really "want." Tragically, our Businesses too.
Beyond Low-Hanging Fruit: The Technical and Business Case for Greenhouse Gas Management (pdf)
Joel N. Swisher, PhD, PE
Rocky Mountain Institute
Our Goal: Doubled Efficiency in System Design
Bottom Line: How a company manages energy and emissions will impact value• Implementing energy efficiency programs will increase profits while meeting climate targets[...]
• Cost-effective efficiency and low-cost renewable energy provide a hedge value for volatile and increasing prices of electricity and fuel (and GHGs)
• Moreover, in a carbon constrained world, we expect new and growing markets to emerge for low-carbon products, services and technology
Now for the not so simple ways to 'find and pick' those Other Low-hanging Greenhouse Gases, going to waste. Remember "where's there's a profit to be made, there's an economic will to be prompted."
The Other Greenhouse Gases
Is methane really worse for the environment than carbon dioxide?
by Brendan Koerner, www.slate.com-- Nov. 27, 2007
[...]Our Food-Industrial-Complex does need some serious tweaking, no doubt about it.
Yet methane deserves more attention than it's received so far because, as you note, it's arguably more deleterious to the environment than the widely feared CO2. The Environmental Protection Agency uses a statistic called Global Warming Potential (GWP) to assess the threat posed by various greenhouse gases. [...] Methane has a GWP of 21, which means it's 21 times more effective at preventing infrared radiation from escaping the planet.
The one sliver of good news is that methane emissions seem to be leveling off. According to Environment Canada, atmospheric methane concentrations should permanently stabilize if we cut our current methane output by a seemingly manageable 8 percent. As a consumer, you can help a minuscule amount by reducing the amount of waste you send to landfills. But the most promising solutions aren't on the end-user level. The Lantern mentioned one such remedy a few weeks back: capturing methane from landfills and then using it to generate electricity or to supply gas-hungry industrial operations. In the agricultural realm, those cow burps can be made less methane-rich by fiddling with the animals' diets; Australian scientists contend, for example, that adding cottonseed oil to livestock feed can reduce each cow's methane emissions by up to 30 percent.
Here are few more little-noticed sticky wickets in our epic Stop Climate Change struggle. Their reversal will make HUGE Impacts, in slowing that imponderable GHG Lemming march, which we still find ourselves on, as one of history's Peak-Consumer societies:
Other Greenhouse Gases
greenpeace.org -- East Asia
Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, but other greenhouse gases are much more potent in smaller concentrations.
Not to be confused with nitrogen oxides, nitrous oxide is 296 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and remains in the atmosphere for 114 years.
While nitrous oxide is naturally emitted from oceans and soil, its human-derived sources include agriculture (mostly nitrogen fertilisation) and industrial activities. It is also created during the combustion of fossil fuels and other organic matter.
Nitrous oxide also has a variety of direct uses, including as an aerosol propellant and an anaesthetic (laughing gas).
PFCs are 5,700 to 10,000 times more powerful greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide, and have an atmospheric lifetime of up to 50,000 years.
PFCs are by-products of aluminium smelting. They are also used in semi-conductor manufacturing and as substitutes for ozone-depleting chemicals.
Sulphur hexafluoride is the most potent greenhouse gas evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is 23,900 times more powerful than carbon dioxide and has an atmospheric lifetime of 3,200 years.
It has a number of uses, including in Nike Air shoes, car tires, electrical insulation, semiconductor manufacturing, and in the magnesium industry.
Industrial Age problems all. If only we had the right "carrot and stick" economic tools -- to prompt them into taking appropriate corrective actions.
The cheapest approach, is not always the best approach. Especially if we care about leaving our kids a world, better than we found it.
Remember: "the Producers have kids too."