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Carbon in numbers - Weighing in on the sources that add to the planet's greenhouse gases

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Creative Commons License Photo credit: Taras Kalapun

The environmental footprint per capita in developed countries is more than 10 tones per year. For example, 10,8 tones of carbon is emitted per capita by British, 12,7 per capita by Greek and 22,4 tones per capita by Americans. It takes both governments and the citizens to take measures to reduce the impact of each nation on Earth. Many every day habits need to be reconsidered and altered drastically.

19.312 Kilometers an average car travels per year, producing 6 tones of greenhouse gases. But you would have to travel 150.107 Kilometers by train to produce the same amount of carbon for the same period. At the same time, 18 times more carbon is emitted per mile per passenger in a car than in a bus. Buses emit less carbon per passenger than trains, planes, boats or automobiles (in that order). In 2007, of the European Union’s total CO2 emissions, the 12% was created by passenger cars.

All these facts demonstrate the crucial need to ‘wean off’ private cars and opt for public means of transport. Such a decision made by the citizens actually alters their everyday life, as new habits are substituting old ones. To help them make such a decision, governments have to rearrange bus, train and metro schedules. They should be frequent, punctual and efficient, so that citizens can rely on them.

But it’s not only about transportation. Overpopulation and consumerism have similarly dramatic impact on the amount of carbon dioxide on the planet.

The British government has set a goal of 60% reduction on carbon emissions by 2050. Renewable sources of energy will be developed, substituting coal. Most governments have not made similar plans. However, all developed countries ought to make a plan for a considerable reduction on carbon emissions.

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Changing transportation habits is an effective first step individuals to take to reduce carbon emissions. There are many advantages to using public transportation, particularly in bigger cities: commuters can save money, time, and stress. The difficult part here, as stated in the article, is to get people to change their habits, and this begins with removing the negative reputation associated with public transportation. Changing transportation choices is only the first step, and it is something that can be done by individuals with the help of local government. To achieve the 60% reduction by 2050, the government, businesses, and individuals will need to identify other areas where they can reduce their carbon emissions. At Verteego Carbon, we are trying to make the process of identifying and reducing the carbon footprints of businesses and communities as easy as possible.

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Living in Miami, and having lived in Tampa in the past, I think that basic infrastructure of southern cities is a problem. In places like New York or Philadelphia, the cities are designed to be pedestrian and public transportation. Not so in the south. Cities here were designed with cars in mind, and now unless you live in the middle of the downtown, you almost have to have a car in order to leave your sub development. I believe that the future of cities is to have considerably more downtown living, especially in new, LEED condominiums that my company is working on. Changing the living habits of people who live in cities by making other, good options available to them is the only real way to make a difference.

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I love the whole green train idea. I think that environmentally mass transportation not only for people, but for goods is the number one step. I actually made a website supporting the Green Train tour because I thought this was such an important message and method of spreading it. I still hope that it gets off the ground, but there's so much controversy and lack of news that I don't know.

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