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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.

Quick and Easy Tips to Reduce your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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
    Avoid drive-thrus
    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

Space Heating/Cooling

    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: ]

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.

Big, big money at stake

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, -- 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

Autos:     70%,  
Trucks:    50%,
Planes:     30%,
Industry:  40%,
Buildings:  60%


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, Nov. 27, 2007

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.

Our Food-Industrial-Complex does need some serious tweaking, no doubt about it.


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 -- East Asia

Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, but other greenhouse gases are much more potent in smaller concentrations.

Nitrous oxide

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).

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

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

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."

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've Clung to Desktop Far Longer Than I Should (6+ / 0-)

    have since it's been a number of years since I've needed to install things into expansion slots. Also, working at home, it's easy to leave the desktop running at the desk. I do however use the power saving routines to turn off hard drives & screen, and hibernate relatively soon after last keystrokes.

    This summer or fall I will be trying to get a laptop in part because I want to find one that still has Win 7 on it. I'll buy a spare hard drive for it right off the bat so that whenever the original goes bad, I can swap it out for a few more years' use.

    Working at home definitely saves car mileage, and we're in an old rustbelt inner suburb so there are some places in walk or bike distance and little driving for most other regular shopping and local recreation.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:45:22 AM PDT

  •  Feh! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lehman scott

    Energy efficiency won't do anything to mitigate climate change or "greenhouse gas emissions."  Energy efficiency just provides a pretext for the expansion of business operations, which ends up accelerating climate change.

    An economic system devoted to profits, accumulation, and economic expansion without end will tend to use any efficiency gains or cost reductions to expand the overall scale of production. Technological innovation will therefore be heavily geared to these same expansive ends.

    "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

    by Cassiodorus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:45:45 AM PDT

    •  are you suggesting then (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldSoldier99, elwior

      we go energy-less?

      Hmmm, even campers, use camp-fires.

    •  Ahh yes... the good old (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Jevon's Paradox:

      In economics, the Jevons paradox (sometimes Jevons effect) is the proposition that technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource.[1] In 1865, the English economist William Stanley Jevons observed that technological improvements that increased the efficiency of coal use led to increased consumption of coal in a wide range of industries. He argued that, contrary to common intuition, technological improvements could not be relied upon to reduce fuel consumption.[2]

      The issue has been re-examined by modern economists studying consumption rebound effects from improved energy efficiency. In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource, which tends to increase the quantity of the resource demanded, potentially counteracting any savings from increased efficiency. Additionally, increased efficiency accelerates economic growth, further increasing the demand for resources. The Jevons paradox occurs when the effect from increased demand predominates, causing resource use to increase.[2]

      The Jevons paradox has been used to argue that energy conservation may be futile, as increased efficiency may increase fuel use. Nevertheless, increased efficiency can improve material living standards. Further, fuel use declines if increased efficiency is coupled with a green tax or other conservation policies that keep the cost of use the same (or higher).[3] As the Jevons paradox applies only to technological improvements that increase fuel efficiency, policies that impose conservation standards and increase costs do not display the paradox.

      Although a very valid and observed effect, I tend to agree that implementation of aggressive External Cost Internalization would theoretically lessen its worst effects, although not entirely eliminate them.

      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

      by lehman scott on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:21:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  our world (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lehman scott

        is full of paradoxes.

        Untangling them is our perennial problem.

        Especially when so few of our elected leaders,
        explicitly stop to attempt the endeavor.

        After all Management by Crisis,
        demands of them, no less.

      •  Nobody's going to "internalize external costs" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lehman scott

        under our current system.

        "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

        by Cassiodorus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:40:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I concur (depending on exactly what you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          include in "the system").  But then, I rather suspect that similar statements were made about the possibility of substantive environmental regulatory initiatives prior to April 22, 1970.

          Sorry, Cassiodurus, I just can't seem to help myself sometimes.  I am by nature a hopeful and optimistic person.  :)

          Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

          by lehman scott on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:56:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I see nothing "optimistic" about jamess's faith (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lehman scott

            that the capitalist system will last indefinitely.

            Witness, for instance, declining growth rates around the globe, the decreasing room for actual growth, and the increasing specter of global economic crisis.  How long does the Euro have left before the people of the whole of Europe figure out how thoroughly they're being ripped off by regimes controlled by bankrupt banks?

            Obama has "revived profit" by opening up new avenues for theft by the super-rich, without granting said profit an actual material basis.  How else are we to interpret vast no-interest loans to banks, who then turn around and invest the money in Treasury bills?

            Real optimism would place its faith in something other than capitalism.  "Efficiency" under capitalism is just another attempt to increase the rate at which the working class is exploited.  It does nothing to keep the grease in the ground.

            "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

            by Cassiodorus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:12:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it's not faith (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lehman scott

              it's just history.

              lots of history.

              "Golden rule" and all that.

              the 0.01 Percenters are NOT just going to re-distribute all their wealth.

              yeah right.

              Meanwhile us grunt workers will be forced into "serfdom on steroids,"
              while we wait for that magic transformation of a world without "private ownership" to somehow happen.

              The world is what is it.  The sooner we try to work with that reality, the sooner we might effectively change it.

              Advocate for Democratic Socialism (like Sanders), but don't expect Market Forces to disappear overnight.

              "Black Markets" amidst chaos, is hardly better than what we have now.  Which is what societal breakdown would most likely lead to.


              •  And nothing ever changes? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lehman scott

                If it didn't happen in history, it will never happen?


                Advocate for Democratic Socialism (like Sanders), but don't expect Market Forces to disappear overnight.
                And who said anything about "overnight"?  Market forces" haven't produced an adequate economic growth rate to sustain a capitalist world-system for forty years now -- what the elites have relied upon to keep profits up is a tricky combination of Ponzi schemes and government-aided theft.  And those schemes won't last forever, as the economic crises keep multiplying and dividing.

                Oh, sure, there will be last-ditch, increasingly authoritarian measures to keep capitalism in place, like what you see in Greece now.  Their half-lives will be short.  Eventually knowledge that capitalism is a fraud will spread, and then we will see a long, conflict-filled, and painful debate about what is to replace capitalism, as Wallerstein predicted:

                In a structural crisis, the only certainty is that the existing system—the capitalist world-economy—cannot survive. What is impossible to know is what the successor system will be.
                Capitalism is not really going to last all that long.  What replaces it is of course up for grabs -- it could be some form of transitory neofeudalism on the way to something worse, or it could be a network of emergency organizations.  One thing is for sure, however -- writing diaries about how efficiency is going to save us is NOT an intervention into what will count as "postcapitalism."

                "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

                by Cassiodorus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:49:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •   I don't disagree that the primary common forms of (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              capitalism are not going to be able to exist in a society that is structured around steady-state economics and physical limits to growth on a finite planet.  Can hybrid forms of capitalism be created that will replace the dominant existing growth-based forms and survive in such circumstances?  I am not entirely sure, myself, but some folks seem to think it is theoretically possible.  The feasibility of such institutions is a matter of ongoing debate and research and I think the answer to these questions is not yet clear or certain.  The rules of the game under which they would have to operate would have to be substantially changed, of course, beginning with the ECI reforms I mentioned above, as well as replacing the ridiculous GDP metric with something more representative of reality, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator. And many more after those two.

              One thing is certain, however, the growing interest in worker-owned and -managed cooperative business ventures is evidence that folks are actively wanting to reject standard capitalism and experiment with these alternative economic systems that are more inherently suited to operate along steady-state principles, so I suppose only time will tell.  One thing that I do not see, however, is some revolutionary overthrow of the entire Capitalistic System in some foreseeable and short time frame.

              But perhaps I'm being overly-optimistic and naive in my hopes that our existing systems can be reformed and transformed into forms that put people and the planet before profit.  I know that steady-state capitalism can operate in certain circumstances, having conceptualized and designed one myself for my MSE in Environmental Engineering.  It was subsequently built exactly where and how I designed it and now twenty years on, it is still a thriving business that prides itself on not making any profits.  Whether such an approach can be scaled up in size in larger sectors of the economy is another matter entirely, however.  But I am hopeful that it can and am actively researching how that might be possible.

              Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

              by lehman scott on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 03:08:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Short Lived Climate Forcers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lorikeet, jamess, wu ming, LaughingPlanet

    Don't forget them.  Real bang for the buck and real local and global effect within a month:

    Reductions of black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and tropo ozone precursors have additional benefits that pay for themselves many times over in better health, more time, and more productive economies.

  •  Great diary, jamess. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Every little bit helps and adds up.

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:37:55 PM PDT

  •  I'm just gonna keep on (0+ / 0-)

    taping plastic over the windows when it gets cold and not buying crap I don't need. Not that I have much choice, with my budget. I can't help but wonder if this is why the Very Serious People are starting to say austerity might not be such a great idea. As in “Oh, crap, nobody's buying Crap™!”

  •  Here's my top ten list, which I recently put (0+ / 0-)

    together for a local event.

    10 ways to reduce your CO2 emissions footprint

    1. Make climate-conscious political decisions and participate in government.

    2. Reduce meat and dairy consumption.  Not only does livestock have a huge carbon footprint, it can cause or exacerbate some of our nation's biggest health problems, like Chronic Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes.  Try getting started by going meatless one day per week.  My city is currently considering joining the global Meatless Monday movement.  Recent United Nations report warns that rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars.  Americans eat four times as much meat as the world average.

    3. Convert your home to renewable energy sources.  The cost of solar has come way down.  Almost all renewable energy has federal incentives for installation and over time as it is used.  Conversion to solar is even possible with zero investment upfront with new leasing options.  Check out the federal and state incentive programs at

    4. Make your home and household energy efficient.  Take advantage through August 2013 of the Energy Impact Illinois program by calling 1-855-9IMPACT to set up an appointment.  Home owners can save 70%, up to $1750, off the most cost effective and permanent energy efficiency improvements: air sealing and insulating your home.  Better yet, they've taken all the paperwork and guesswork out and made the process easy.

    Go green with your roof, explore a "green roof" for local buildings.  Paint your roof white or use a reflective material to increase albedo (the ability of a surface to reflect solar energy).

    5. Buy appliances with an Energy Star label.  One of today's energy-efficient refrigerators uses less than half of the energy of a model that's twelve years old or older.  The more energy efficient they are, the more they’ll save you in the long run, and the lower their CO2 impact will be. In most cases the ‘payback period’ – the difference between the initial cost of a high versus low efficiency appliance and the long-term savings in lower electricity and water bills, is only a matter of a few months to a few years. After that, you are laughing all the way to the bank, and doing something meaningful to combat climate change at the same time.

    6. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones (CFL's) which now come in all shapes and sizes.  If every household in the US replaced just one bulb with an energy efficient CFL, it would be the same as taking 6.3 million cars off the road for the life of the bulb.  Also, unplug energy "vampires" like chargers, appliances, the extra freezer or refrigerator needed for the holidays when not in use.  Turn off printers and computers when done using.  Doing so can reduce your electric usage by upwards of 10% per month.

    7. Recycle, re-use and avoid useless purchases -- minimize consumerism in general--learn to live with less; repurpose or donate items when original use is over.  All products have a carbon footprint of some sort.  Do we really need to acquire more "useless stuff"?  Try using "" which puts people willing to donate stuff to people looking for free stuff.  Repair technology assets/electronics as opposed to purchasing new ones; eliminate or recycle single-use plastics; avoid Styrofoam.

    8. Walk, cycle and support/use public transportation more often.  Don't take unnecessary plane flights.  Try to telecommute and teleconference when possible.  Do you need to be in the office every week day or can you work from home occasionally?  Does that meeting need to be face to face or will a video or teleconference suffice?  Make your next vehicle a fuel efficient one (rated at 32 mpg or more) or a hybrid.

    9. Buy local, organic produce.  If your food had to be transported from far away, it will inherently have a higher carbon footprint.  It's also important to support sustainable food producers who are using more environmentally friendly agricultural practices.  Organic farming repairs soil and produces carbon sinks (storage) which counteract/mitigate climate change.  If you do eat animal products like meat and dairy, try to purchase products produced locally, responsibly and ethically. Whole Foods has a rating system which can help educate consumers on the issues involved.

    10. Plant trees and stop using leaf  blowers.  Plant leafy, native, drought-resistant trees and shrubs around your house and air conditioner to provide wind breaks and summer shade.  The average yard tree cleans 330 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.  It also absorbs an extra ten pounds of pollutants from the air each year of ozone and particulates.  Gas powered leaf blowers can generate as much emissions in one hour as driving a car 350 miles.

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