How else can we reduce our carbon emissions?
Last week we looked at the emissions we produce on island (our scope 1 emissions) and the role of our natural environment in soaking up (we call this carbon sequestration) some of these emissions in Jersey. This week we are going to explore Jersey’s wider emissions and understand how our choices affect global climate change. If you’re ready to share your thoughts on this, join the conversation. If not, read on.
In 2018 we produced greenhouse gases equivalent to 422.4 kilotons’ of carbon dioxide (we write this as 422.4 kt CO2e) in Jersey. But that isn’t our total carbon footprint.
This week we are going to explore the everyday choices we make that result in greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world. This includes things like international travel and the carbon produced to make the things we buy.
Emissions from energy
In 2019 almost all of Jersey’s energy supply was imported, about 2% was produced on island as electricity generated by the Energy Recovery Facility and solar panels.
95% of the island’s electricity comes from nuclear and hydro sources in France and is already very low carbon. The emissions from this imported electricity are not counted as our emissions, instead France must count them. We call these our scope 2 emissions.
Petroleum products accounted for almost two thirds (62%) of Jersey’s energy supply that includes heating oil, gas for cooking and heating and petrol & diesel.
Emissions from our everyday lives
As an island we have to import things, including a large proportion of our food as well as clothes, furniture, technology and building materials (to name just a few).
Each product has created emissions somewhere. Everything we buy and consume has embedded energy. This is the total energy needed to produce something, from its raw materials right through to getting it to the island.
The emissions created when things are made are counted as scope 1 emissions in the country of production. The emissions from transporting goods are scope 1 emissions in whichever country the boat, plane or lorry takes on fuel. But those are still our emissions because we are the end consumer. We call these our scope 3 emissions.
At the moment, we can’t measure our scope 3 emissions as we have no way to track everything we buy and don’t know everything about the way those things are manufactured. But we do know that our scope 3 emissions are more than our Scope 1 and 2 emissions combined.
According to Oxfam the richest one percent of the world’s population is responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the 3.1 billion people who make up the poorest half. And data from the Global Carbon Atlas shows it takes someone in the UK just five days to emit the same amount of carbon as someone in Rwanda does across a whole year.
To reduce our scope 3 emissions we need to make different choices, buying less (and less often), buying locally wherever possible and buying things that can be fixed, adapted and recycled locally.
Trees play an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide and supporting nature. Protecting our natural environment and increasing the number of trees we plant in Jersey is something positive that we can do (remember this is called sequestration).
As Jersey is so small, we don’t have enough space to absorb all of our greenhouse gas emissions. We need to our greenhouse gases emissions as much as we can but there will be some emissions, we just can’t get rid of, like the greenhouse gases associated with producing or giving life-saving healthcare.
When we cannot get our emissions any lower, we will need to think about off-setting to help us become carbon neutral.
Carbon offsetting involves investing in emission reduction projects that have prevented or removed an equivalent amount of greenhouse gasses somewhere else in the world.
So, what can you do to help?
This may seem like a complex issue but really, it’s quite simple. The scope 3 emissions we contribute to may be out of sight, but they shouldn’t be out of mind.
We can all play our part and small actions carried out by a lot of people will make a big difference.
Don’t underestimate the power your individual actions can make – start by doing just one thing, even something small – it can make a difference and can lead to you inspiring others.