How to Fight Global Warming
Take steps to reduce your energy use, improve efficiency and help end global warming
The biggest cause of global warming is the carbon dioxide released when fossil fuels -- such as oil and coal -- are burned for energy. So when you save energy, you fight global warming and save money, too.
Here are some easy steps that you can take to help make a difference:
LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING POLLUTION
Raise your voice. Congress needs to enact new laws that cap carbon emissions and require polluters pay for the global warming gases that they produce. Send a message to your elected officials, letting them know that you will hold them accountable for what they do -- or fail to do -- about global warming. Take action here.
GREEN JOBS AND CLEAN ENERGY
Choose renewable energy. Pick a Green-e-certified energy supplier that generates at least half of its power from wind, solar energy and other clean sources. If you don't have that option, look at your current electricity bill to see if you are able to support renewable energy in another way. For details, see NRDC's guide to buying clean energy.
Offset your carbon footprint. You can make up for your remaining carbon output by purchasing carbon offsets. Offsets represent clean power that you can add to the nation's energy grid in place of power from fossil fuels. Not all offset companies are alike. See our guide to carbon offsets for tips on how to choose an offset supplier.
DRIVE SMARTER CARS
Choose an efficient vehicle: High-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids use less gas and save money. Over its lifetime, a 40-mpg car will save roughly $3,000 in fuel costs compared with a 20-mpg car. Compare fuel economy performance before you buy.
Drive smart. If all Americans kept their tires properly inflated, gasoline use nationwide would come down 2 percent. A tune-up could boost your miles per gallon anywhere from 4 to 40 percent, and a new air filter could get you 10 percent more miles per gallon. Learn more about saving fuel and money through proper car maintenance at Simple Steps.
GREEN HOMES AND BUILDINGS
Weatherize your home or apartment. Heating and cooling consume about 40 percent of energy in the home. Sealing drafts and making sure that your home has adequate insulation are two easy ways to become more energy-efficient. Visit Simple Steps for more tips and to learn how to take advantage of federal tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements.
Buy energy-efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star label, which identifies the most efficient appliances. At Simple Steps, you can learn more about investing in energy-efficient products and find out which appliances and rooms in the home use the most electricity.
Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. What's more, CFLs lower your energy bills and keep a half-ton of carbon dioxide out of the air. For more on the benefits of switching to CFLs, visit Simple Steps. Also learn about LEDs as another energy-efficient lighting alternative.
BETTER COMMUNITIES AND TRANSPORTATION
Drive less. Choose alternatives to driving such as public transit, biking, walking and carpooling, and bundle your errands to make fewer trips. Choosing to live in a walkable "smart growth" community near a transportation hub will mean less time driving, less money spent on gas and less pollution in the air. Learn more about smart growth communities.
last revised 5/19/2009
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