we consume. But we also indirectly infl uence what is emitted by making
Some might use the argument that whatever they do as individuals is too little to affect the planet, so they need not bother to make an effort. These people are maybe not aware that even if not directly emitting, their way of life has an indirect infl uence over GHG emissions, and that, albeit indirectly, with their infl uence things might change “out there”. If you break down for instance a typical western
European’s GHG emissions to individual shares, less than 50 per cent are direct emissions (such as driving a car or using a heater) while the rest are indirect – and individuals have no direct control over them. 20 per cent are caused by the products we consume and the emissions that have arisen in producing and disposing of them, 25 per cent come from powering workplaces, and 10 per cent from maintaining public infrastructure. Financial institutions for example have relatively small GHG emissions in proportion to their size. Reducing their travel or building-related emissions is a good idea. But they could exert much greater infl uence over the projects they lend to, requiring them to be climate-friendly.
choices that are more or less climate-relevant – what kind of products we buy, which politicians we support, what kind of stocks we invest in, to name just a few examples. We might not be as aware of our indirect responsibility as of our direct infl uence, but by giving it some thought we might be able to achieve just as much in reducing GHG emissions by influencing those indirect paths as by reducing our own, direct emissions.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and non-governmental organiza-
The Worldwatch Institute argues for GHG reduction strategies for companies:
“... And there’s money in minimizing energy use. Research in one industrialized country shows that a lack of time and expertise to measure and reduce carbon emissions is preventing small and medium businesses from saving as much energy as they could. Many underestimate the savings they could achieve: nearly 23 per cent of those studied believed their business could save only between one per cent and four per cent on energy bills, although the average fi gure was ten per cent. Yet one in three of the businesses that did measure their emissions said it was to gain a competitive edge, the same number also said they wanted to adapt before legislation required them to.”
tions (NGOs) perform multiple roles. Just like individuals, they run their own households. They are consumers and producers; they provide goods or
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