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Thursday, March 08, 2007

10 Personal Solutions to Global Warming from Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists (click here to visit their website) is a "science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world." Global warming is one of many issues that they focus on.

It seems that there are a million different lists of "10 Things YOU Can Do To Fight Global Warming." The UCS list has some unique items:

"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 releases 25 pounds of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) into 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. Compare the fuel economy of the cars you're considering and look for new technologies like hybrid engines."

I've never seen this listed as "the most important personal climate decision." I have not done the calculation, but these guys are a whole lot smarter than I am - so I will take their word for it.

"2. Choose clean power: More than half the electricity in the United States comes from polluting coal-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 that provide 50 to 100 percent renewable energy. (For more information go to"

Residents and businesses who are customers of Kennebunk Light and Power can choose to buy some or all of their electricity from green sources through the KLPD Village Green program. For more information, contact

If you do not get your electricity from KLPD, then contact your utility and ask how you can buy green energy. If nothing else, it will let them know that there is a demand for such products. Customer demand - knowing that there are people willing to pay a premium for clean energy - is a key to getting power companies to offer green electricity.

"4. Unplug a freezer: One of the quickest ways to reduce your global warming impact is to unplug the extra refrigerator or freezer you rarely use (except when you need it for holidays and parties). This can reduce the typical family's carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 10 percent."

The amount of electricity consumed by an extra freezer is significant. If you can get away with only one for even a part of the year, you will save money AND carbon dioxide emissions.

"8. Buy good wood: When buying wood products, check for labels that indicate the source of the timber. Supporting forests that are managed in a sustainable fashion makes sense for biodiversity, and it may make sense for the climate too. Forests that are well managed are more likely to store carbon effectively because more trees are left standing and carbon-storing soils are less disturbed."

Another consideration is to buy things made from bamboo, which is a fast-growing type of grass that can be made into everything from kitchen utensils to flooring to clothing.

"10. Let policymakers know you are concerned about global warming: Our elected officials and business leaders need to hear from concerned citizens. Sign up for the Union of Concerned Scientists Action Network to ensure that policymakers get the timely, accurate information they need to make informed decisions about global warming solutions."

This is true for local and state officials as well as federal ones. Let your representatives know that you fully support their efforts to met the challenges of global warming - and that you want action sooner rather than later.

The whole list can be found on the UCS website (click here to see the list) along with other information about global warming.

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