What changes can we make to reduce the level of Greenhouse gases that we generate every year?

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Greenhouse gases are the gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that produce the greenhouse effect. Most greenhouse gases can have either a natural or an anthropogenic (man-​made) source.

In the UK – 90% of the total of greenhouse gas emissions come from just 5 sectors.

  • 27% is from Transport, such as road transport, railways, aviation, and shipping.
  • 21% is from Energy Supply, burning fuel for electricity generation.
  • 17% is from Business, incineration, industrial machinery, refrigeration, and air conditioning
  • 15% is from Residential, mainly the use of natural gas for heating and cooking. Residential electricity use is included in Energy Supply above.
  • 10% is from Agriculture, emissions from livestock particularly cattle, agricultural soils, machinery, and nitrous oxide emissions related to the use of fertilisers on agricultural soils.

Take active steps to reduce the level of these emissions and we can all help. This is not a case of wearing hair shirts and giving up all your luxuries. Indeed, some of the changes can be fulfilling and positive. We can all make changes and the time to start is today. We need to take it personally.


Prior to 2019.

I flew around 50,000 miles every year on work and on holidays. I have not flown since then.

I drove around 22,000 miles every year. I have halved this annual use to less than 11,000 miles.

Working from home, using video calls, and questioning the need to travel have helped make these changes. I miss the buzz and excitement of foreign travel, but I have found interests here in the South West as a result. I love big game fishing and long to head to the deep blue reaches of the East Pacific. My quarry is huge Tuna, this year I have caught (tagged and released) bigger fish here in Cornwall including a monster of over 500lb.

Planning your transport use can dramatically cut your use. Treat a car journey like a special event, what else can be combined into the trip. Allow one trip a week to the shops. In a rural area we do need cars as there are very limited alternatives let’s use them carefully.

Energy Supply

We need to support the UKs move towards Greener Energy. In addition to using less energy in our homes and businesses (see below), how can we support and encourage more local and greener production of energy?

Consider changing your energy tariff to opt to buy from a specialist green energy company or ask your current supplier to increase the amount of energy from green sources. You can check how much renewable energy a supplier produces by looking at its ‘fuel mix’ information. This shows how much of the power they sell has come from coal, gas, nuclear, renewable, and other sources, so you can see how green they really are. Green energy is a catch-all term for energy generated from eco-friendly sources. There are quite a few renewable sources, but they all work in the same way in the end: by turning turbines to generate electricity as they rotate.
Common sources of green energy include: Wind, Tidal, Solar, Hydroelectric and Geothermal. While nuclear energy is a low-carbon source of energy because it has an extremely limited impact on climate change, it is not considered ‘green’ or ‘renewable’, due its use of finite resources and legacy of dangerous waste.

Green energy tariffs are now extremely competitive as the technology improves and more people start asking for renewable energy. This will only continue; especially as solar panels fall in price and increase in efficiency.

Of course, fossil fuel prices fluctuate too, so it’s hard to say which fuel source is the absolute cheapest. What’s clear these days, though, is that you won’t be paying through the nose to go green.


Any activity or enterprise entered for profit, will look at income and expense. Taxation and regulation will help shape this activity and we are seeing more such controls every year being introduced by Government. It is vital that these controls do not stifle innovation.

The public are looking to associate with brands that held similar values to their own. This can be seen in the emergence and growth of start-up and scale-up businesses that have strong eco credentials.

Any business owner needs to consider how they are changing and reducing their impact on the environment. It is a pre-requisite for successful business. It is time of great opportunity in business as we all look to make changes.


Review of how we heat our homes and cook our food and measurement of our use of these resources is the start.

We can all turn that thermostat down or change that time clock. Shut off rooms not in use, wear more clothes.

There are an increasing number of schemes to improve the efficiency of our homes, and to change the equipment we use to heat our homes to those that generate less emissions.


Monoculture on a large scale of any single crop is out, as is the indiscriminate use of nitrogen-based fertilisers. Farmers are the custodians of the soil – the biggest single ally we have in fighting climate change. We need to change our diets; we need to source more locally and more seasonally. We can all grow more at home, or in our community. We cannot make a special car journey to a retailer to pick up an avocado that has been air freighted in from the tropics for our convenience.


We are on a journey – we will not reach net zero quickly or easily.

But we can all take one step at time to make the difference and reduce our emissions and absorb more carbon to bring the day closer when we absorb more carbon than we produce.

Doing nothing is not an option.