This is how to reduce your carbon footprint in transportation

Learn about some ways you can reduce your carbon footprint by making better use of transportation.

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Greenhouse gas emissions are a problem that has become increasingly public and is being discussed in different areas. Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo puedo reducir mi huella de carbono en el transporte?

The issue of greenhouse gas emissions is more recognized by civil society, it is a problem that is becoming more and more public and that is discussed in different areas. Despite this , these emissions are not reduced, but on the contrary they grow and becoming more dangerous for the planet earth over the years. Within all this discussion, a term that has become popular with great avidity is that of " carbon footprint ", which refers to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that humans have emitted throughout the year.

This measurement is very useful to raise awareness about the contribution we make as individuals to climate change and so that, in that order of ideas, actions are taken that reduce our carbon footprint individually and collectively. It should be noted that most of these emissions are produced by large industries , but that these industries have consumers. That's when we come in as individuals. Our carbon footprint is measured from the consumption that we make of different products, because to make these, in most cases the environment is not taken into account and therefore there is an environmental impact in the little or no sustainable use of primary energies and resources.

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According to the UN News "since 2010, gas emissions that cause global warming - excluding those produced by land use, which are more uncertain and variable - have registered an average annual growth of 1.3% . In 2019, the increase was more pronounced and reached 2.6% due to the large increase in forest fires. " Likewise, it is believed that, despite the fact that greenhouse gas emissions in the world were significantly reduced in 2020 due to the mandatory confinement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this reduction is not enough to offset the damage already they imply the carbon footprint that we have so far.

How to reduce the carbon footprint in transport?

One of the consumptions that generates the most greenhouse gas emissions is the use of cars with combustion engines and the production of these. According to Greenpeace data, the automotive industry is responsible for 9% of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, the Volkswagen group being the most polluting, followed by Porsche, Škoda, Audi, Renault, Nissan, Toyota, General Motors, and Hyundai . In the report Accelerators of climate change: the most polluting car brands, it is estimated that this industry is far from complying with the reduction of these gases set in the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN and the European Union.

To that extent, the first thing we must do to reduce our carbon footprint when we transport is to avoid combustion engines, as well as to avoid buying cars from the brands that pollute the most. A very effective way to achieve this is by avoiding the use of private transport and substituting it for public options . According to the meta study Quantifying the potential for climate change mitigation of consumption options , that could reduce an individual carbon footprint by 0.6 to 1 tonne per year.

On the other hand, opting for a hybrid car supposes a reduction of up to 3.1 tons, while opting for an electric one can reach a reduction of up to 5.4 tons . But here we must bear in mind that this is only possible if the entire chain is clean and safe with the environment. If the electric car is taking its energy from fossil sources, nothing is really being done, so you have to be very careful about where the energy that will be used for the electric car comes from. That is why it is very necessary to demand from our governments supplies of clean and 100% decarbonized energy.

So while this is not achieved, opting for hybrids and electric cars is not an option that is entirely safe. On the other hand, choosing not to have a car is a safe bet, especially at a time when teleworking is an increasingly feasible option . However, we must also think about the fact that we not only need to make use of transport to move within the city, but also between cities that are more distant and between countries. The option of battery-powered aircraft is still a long way off, so reducing the flights we take per year is a good way to reduce our polluting footprint