The United States holds 5% of the world’s population, yet drives 1/3 of its automobiles, and emits almost half of the world’s automotive CO2.*
As well, transportation in the U.S. is the fastest growing source of U.S. greenhouse gases at 47% of the net increase in total emissions since 1990.**
Why does this matter? Excess CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat and light, causing a long-term warming of earth’s lower atmosphere beyond normal fluctuations in temperature. Expected long-term warming estimates range from increases of 1 – 6 degrees Celsius, with this warming adversely affecting ecosystems and causing extinction of species, extreme weather occurrences such as flood and drought, acidification of the oceans, and more.
Clearly, these consequences are extreme and potentially disastrous. The effect of our individual human activities has a significant collective impact on our atmosphere, and therefore our long-term well-being. While the causes of excess carbon emissions are many, the automobile is certainly a prime culprit.
So, what can you do to lower your carbon footprint?
- Use the EPA’s household emissions calculator at www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html. This will give you a good idea of your carbon footprint, and offer suggestions on how to reduce your emissions.
- Check out the many resources provided by the EPA, including a green vehicle guide, a fuel economy guide, and a guide suggesting ways to reduce emissions through better driving practices: www.epa.gov/oms/climate/whatyoucando.htm
- Kick your car to the curb, or take any other mode of getting to work other than your drive alone vehicle, even if only 2-3 days a week. You reduce your emissions most by walking, bicycling, or teleworking, but bus, vanpool, and carpool are effective ways of making reductions in your carbon footprint.
- Support land use and transportation policies that promote density and discourage sprawl.