INTRODUCTION: CO₂ Emissions
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 Climate.gov. Retrieved from https://www.climate.gov/news- 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 Cityofukiah.com
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. (2019b). Pge.com. Retrieved 6 Get started with clean energy March 2019, from https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/solar-and- vehicles/options/option-overview/how-to-get- started/how-to-get-started.page
PG&E. (2019c). Everyday Tips . Pge.com. Retrieved 6 March 2019, from https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/save-e nergy-money/resources/everyday-tips/everyday- tips.page
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.