Sometimes it helps to have the facts. They present their own story and make it easier for you to understand the problem.
Here are two sets of facts from the EPA’s 2012 Inventory on United States Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The first shows emissions by source:
- Energy – 87%
- Agriculture – 6.3%
- Industrial Process – 4.4%
- Waste (landfills) – 1.9%
- Solvents and other produces – 0.1%
Probably not what you expected. Our dominant method of creating energy is the problem. And that is through the use fossil fuels for electricity generation and transportation. To get global warming under control we need a massive shift in energy policy (i.e. clean energy).
That’s important but if you look at emissions by end user a different story emerges:
- Manufacturing – 30%
- Homes – 18%
- Personal Cars – 17%
- Business – 17%
- Farming – 8%
- Freight Trucks – 6%
- Airplanes – 2%
To understand this you need to keep in mind that it’s the person buying the product or driving the car that is ultimately responsible for the emission. That is what these numbers show and they are often overlooked. Which is sad because they convey what you can do, right now, to have an impact.
It is not about cars and electricity like most think. Although they still are important. Rather, it’s the stuff we buy (manufacturing) and our habits at home and at work that cover 2/3 of greenhouse gas emissions.
This is why I like the facts. They tell their own story. In this case, it’s that you – one person – can change your habits and have a huge impact on global warming.