Reducing CO₂ Emissions As A Student



Everything from driving to school to having the lights on in your home/business emits carbon dioxide (CO2) (Quinn, 2007).

  • These emissions go into the atmosphere contributing to the greenhouse effect, warming our planet (Quinn, 2007).
  • By changing habits during hectic student schedules we can lower our individual contributions of CO₂ emissions.
  • Carpooling with classmates and studying in buildings powered by renewable energy can make an impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially when more people do it.

BACKGROUND: Climate Change

  97% of climate scientists are convinced that evidence supports anthropogenic climate change (Anderegg, 2010).

  • The global average (land and ocean) surface temperature increased by 0.85 °C since 1880 (Dahlman, 2018).

DATA: Transportation and Electricity

  • Emissions from transportation exhaust contribute one-third of all carbon emissions from the US alone (Quinn, 2007).
  • Personal transportation makes up one-fifth total greenhouse gas emissions in the US (EPA, 2017).
  • In Mendocino County, most electricity comes from natural gas (PG&E, 2019a). Electricity makes up 28% of US greenhouse gas emissions (EUD, 2019).
  • Worldwide, natural gases add ~2 billion metric tons of CO₂ into the atmosphere each year (Orskes, 2014).

METHODS: What You Can Do

If you carpooled with three classmates who regularly drive, your group would be reducing their greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by ~75%*.

  • Around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases are released by every gallon of gas (UCSUSA, 2019).
  • Each of you would also be saving money on gas and getting to know each other which is beneficial for study groups.

Instead of studying at home, spend time on schoolwork in buildings that use renewable energy to minimize CO₂ emissions and save money (PG&E, 2019b).

  • Solar power is used in the Mendocino College Library for heating, cooling and lighting.
  • Hours spent in buildings with sustainably sourced energy instead of natural gas can save individuals hundreds of dollars annually on electricity bills (PG&E, 2019c).


Simple adjustments to students’ routines like carpooling and using energy in solar-powered buildings like the Mendocino College Library can reduce the rate of global warming while being directly beneficial to the individuals.


Anderegg, W., Prall, J., Harold, J., & Schneider, S.   (2010).   Expert credibility in climate change.   Proceedings Of The   National Academy Of Sciences,   107(27)

Dahlman, L., & Lindsay, R. (2018, August). Climate   Change:   Global Temperature. In NOAA   Retrieved from  features/understanding-  climate/climate-change-  global-temperature

EPA. Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions | US EPA.   (2017). US   EPA.

EUD. (2019). Electric Utility Department. City of Ukiah,   CA.   Retreived from

Leung, J. (2018). DECARBONIZING U.S. BUILDINGS.   Center for   Climate and Energy Solutions. (2)

Orskes, N. “The Scientific Consensus on Climate   Change,”   Science 3 December 2004: Vol. 306 no. 5702   p. 1686 DOI:   10.1126/science.1103618

PG&E. (2019a). Company profile. Retrieved 6   March   2019, from  pge/company-  information/profile/

PG&E. (2019b).   Retrieved 6 Get started   with   clean   energy March 2019, from  vehicles/options/option-overview/how-to-get-  started/

PG&E. (2019c). Everyday Tips . Retrieved 6   March   2019, from  nergy-money/resources/everyday-tips/everyday-

Quinn, D. et al. as IPCC (2007). Summary for   Policymakers. In:   Climate   Change 2007: The   Physical Science Basis. (24-25)

UCSUSA. (2019).  Car Emissions and Global Warming.   Union of   Concerned Scientists.

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