Individual choices can have an impact on global climate change. Reducing your family's heat-trapping emissions does not mean forgoing modern conveniences;it means making smart choices and using energy-efficient products, which may require an additional investment up front, but often pay you back in energy savings within a couple of years.
SinceAmericans' per capita emissions of heat-trapping gases is 5.6 tons—more than double the amount of western Europeans—we can all make choices that will greatly reduce our families' global warming impact.1. The car you drive: the most important personal climate decision.
When you buy your next car, look for the one with the best fuel economy in its class. Each gallon of gas you use is responsiblefor 25 pounds of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Better gas mileage not only reduces global warming, but will also save you thousands of dollars at the pump over the life of the vehicle. Comparethe fuel economy of the cars you're considering and look for new technologies like hybrid engines.
2. Choose clean power. More than half the electricity in the United States comes from pollutingcoal-fired power plants. And power plants are the single largest source of heat-trapping gas. None of us can live without electricity, but in some states, you can switch to electricity companies thatprovide 50 to 100 percent renewable energy. (For more information go to Green-e.org.)
3. Look for Energy Star. When it comes time to replace appliances, look for the Energy Star label on newappliances (refrigerators, freezers, furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters use the most energy). These items may cost a bit more initially, but the energy savings will pay back the extra investmentwithin a couple of years. Household energy savings really can make a difference: If each household in the United States replaced its existing appliances with the most efficient models available, we...