Summary of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life

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Despite the strong evidence for global warming, neither industries nor governments are changing their assumption that the world has an inexhaustible supply of inexpensive fossil fuel. Instead, individuals will make the difference, because consumer desires fuel the business cycle. In chapters that cover daily activities such as home heating, cooking, travel and use of appliances, Chris Goodall explains how you can reduce your carbon emissions from an average of 12.5 tons per year to three. Though the book sometimes bogs down in an overabundance of information, charts and formulas, getAbstract recommends it to individuals and organizations who want to learn how they can make an immediate difference.

About the Author

Chris Goodall is the Green Party candidate in Oxford West and Abingdon. He runs a telecommunications software firm, and serves on the UK Competition Commission and Utilities Appeal Panel.



The Carbon Habit

In Great Britain, the average person is responsible for the emission of about 12.5 tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. About half of those emissions represent the individual’s share in the general economy, such as farming or manufacturing. You emit the other half during the course of daily activities such as driving, cooking, traveling and doing the laundry. Those emissions are under your control. Reducing individuals’ average emissions to three tons per year would stop global warming.

Some people advocate converting to nuclear power, the production of which does not emit carbon dioxide – but the world is likely to run out of uranium even before it depletes its fossil fuels. Other alternative energy proposals would produce more carbon-based energy than clean energy. Furthermore, even at today’s high prices, energy derived from fossil fuels is cheap compared to the labor it replaces. With energy costs so low, businesses have little incentive to improve their energy efficiency or to search for substitutes. And even when they have improved efficiency, for example, by centralizing company operations, increases in demand have generally...

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