Commentary: Every action counts when it comes to net zero – here are the most effective

Switching from a combustion car to an electric one – ideally a battery EV, which generates much larger reductions in emissions than hybrid or fuel cell EVs – will make your car journeys more efficient.

Plus, its effect on emissions will increase as time goes by and the amount of electricity generated by renewables grows.


In the race to net zero, every tonne of CO2 really does count. If more of us take even a few of these suggestions into account, we’re collectively more likely to be able to achieve the ambitious goals set out in the Paris climate agreement.

Of course, these changes will need to be backed by major political action on sustainability at the same time. If we’re to use less fossil fuel energy, the use of fossil fuels needs to be either restricted or made more expensive.

The social consequences of this need to be carefully managed so that carbon pricing schemes can benefit people on lower incomes, which can happen if revenues are redistributed to take the financial burden off poorer households.

But there’s a whole lot more that governments could do to help people to live more sustainably, such as providing better, safer public transport and “active travel” infrastructure (such as bike lanes and pedestrian zones) so that people have alternatives to driving and flying .

There’s no avoiding the fact that if political solutions are to address climate change with the urgency of our global situation requires, these solutions will limit the extent to which we can indulge in carbon-intensive behaviours.

More than anything, we must vote into power those prepared to make such tough decisions for the sake of our planet’s future.

Max Callaghan is a PhD student at the University of Leeds. This commentary first appeared on The Conversation.


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