What You Can Do
Carbon emissions are created because of the way we live our lives. From the energy we consume and the food we eat, to the way we travel and the products we buy.
Can You Help Harrogate Achieve its Carbon Neutral Targets?
You don't need to get your walking shoes on, although it might help. In order to address this problem we must significantly reduce carbon emissions. Where we can’t stop emissions we need to mitigate their impact by using carbon offsetting, such as large scale afforestation and peatland restoration. The support of the whole community is critical to ZCH achieving its aims.
Only when we work together can we reach our target.
Hear what Andy Gouldson, Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds, and chair of Leeds Climate Commission, has to say about how local towns can help to lower our carbon emissions.
“The question is not now whether we need to reduce emissions to zero
but how best it can be done.”
Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate
The main contributor to global warming and carbon emissions is our consumption of energy, therefore one of the most important things we can do is simply reduce the amount of energy we consume in our homes and workplaces.
If we all practice responsible energy usage (even in small amounts) we can collectively collaborate in minimising carbon emissions and work to achieve a zero carbon economy.
You can also help to reduce emissions by making more use of renewable energy, using locally sourced foods and changing the way you travel.
See our low carbon food tips...
We already have the technology to power ourselves with 100% renewable energy, to feed ourselves sustainably and to leave a safe and habitable climate for our children and future generations.
See how others are managing the challenge here
It is not always possible to completely stop our own emissions but carbon offsetting is a way to help reduce the emissions that we or others create and is an internationally recognised way to take responsibility for unavoidable carbon emissions.
In simple terms, offsetting one tonne of carbon means there will be one less tonne of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there would otherwise have been. It is the only way to achieve net carbon zero emissions.
In its simplest form carbon offsetting may involve planting more trees or the better management of peatlands but it can also involve the purchase of carbon offsets to mitigate emissions from transportation, electricity use, etc. For example, an individual might purchase carbon offsets to compensate for the emissions caused by personal air travel. Offsets are typically achieved through financial support of projects that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the short- or long-term. The most common project type is renewable energy, such as wind farms, biomass energy, or hydroelectric dams but there are many others.
Do you have a project in mind to help offset carbon emissions that needs some financial support to get of the ground? If so take a look at the Bettys Trees for Life Fund, which is offering grants to help communities around Yorkshire make a difference to their local landscape.
Trees absorb carbon as they grow, thereby reducing the amount in our atmosphere. They are a vital part of our fight to limit climate change but they are also critical in sustaining biodiversity and our own wellbeing.
Forestry can also play an important role in developing a 'green' economy, with new jobs and more sustainable materials for building. Unfortunately we are woodland poor in England and need more trees.
Take a look at this Forestry Facts & Figures 2019 infographic >
30 July 2019
Climate change: Tree planting rise 'needs to happen quickly'
Significant rises in tree planting in the UK "need to happen quickly" if other targets to cut carbon are not met, government advisers have warned.
The Committee on Climate Change recommends 30,000 hectares of woodland should be planted annually, more than double the new trees planted last year.
Carbon offsetting is of course just one element of an integrated carbon management strategy, and this should be considered as a whole.
Find out more about carbon offsetting here
Before you can know how successful you are being in reducing your emissions you need to measure the baseline from which you are starting. That means you need to know the carbon footprint of the activity you want to offset. You can then set reduction targets which can be achieved by choosing different patterns of behaviour.
A carbon footprint is generally defined as the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organisation, or product, often expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. It is difficult to calculate the total carbon footprint exactly, due to limitations in the data required, the complexity of the calculation and the prevailing environment, but there are a number of tools available to help you.
Responsible individuals and businesses should reduce the emissions where they can and offset the remaining, unavoidable emissions.
“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done - then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Top ten tips for reducing your carbon emissions
Keep yourself informed
Discover the latest on climate change, green building, renewable energy and a broad range of topics relating to sustainability from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) online magazine.
New Year Solutions
Listen to these 8 x 15 minute programmes on BBC Radio 4 showing what you can do personally to reduce your carbon footprint?
Costing the Earth
There are many interesting and helpful reports and books on the subject of climate change - here are a few suggestions
It's in your hands
What you can do to stop climate change
Perhaps we can't stop climate change, but we can prevent it getting much worse.
See what action Friends of the Earth recommend.
From putting pressure on the government and making sure your voice is heard to making changes in your everyday life.
Big lifestyle changes needed to cut emissions
According to the government's chief environment scientist, Prof Sir Ian Boyd, people must use less transport, eat less red meat and buy fewer clothes if the UK is to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Prof Boyd said the public had little idea of the scale of the challenge from the so-called Net Zero emissions target.
Should you fly, drive or take the train?
The climate campaigner Greta Thunberg chose to sail to a UN climate conference in New York in a zero-emissions yacht rather than fly - to highlight the impact of aviation on the environment.
So what is the environmental impact of flying and how do trips by train, car or boat compare?
Food calculator: What's your diet's carbon footprint?
Avoiding meat and dairy products is one of the biggest ways to reduce your environmental impact, according to recent scientific studies.
But what is the difference between beef and chicken? Does a bowl of rice produce more climate warming greenhouse gases than a plate of chips? Is wine more environmentally friendly than beer?
LED lights making dent in UK energy demand
Installing a single low-energy LED bulb may make a trivial contribution to cutting the carbon emissions that are overheating the planet.
But if millions choose LEDs, then with a twist of the collective wrist, their efforts will make a small but significant dent in the UK's energy demand.
Huge costs of warming impacts in 2018
Extreme weather events linked to climate change cost thousands of lives and caused huge damage throughout the world in 2018, say Christian Aid.
Scientists have shown that the chances of heat waves in Europe were influenced directly by human-related warming.