New Year’s Climate Resolutions for 2023 - 27 East

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New Year’s Climate Resolutions for 2023

authorMichelle Trauring on Dec 21, 2022

According to the United Nations Foundation, when it comes to climate change, 2022 was a split screen.

On the one hand, this year delivered important progress in the climate change fight. The United States enacted landmark climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, which will inject $369 billion of public spending and tax credits into the economy to boost clean energy, clean infrastructure, and climate resilience over the next decade.

Abroad, Australia elected a pro-climate-action government that quickly raised the country’s climate targets and enacted legislation to match. In Brazil, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won on a platform that included halting and reversing Amazonian deforestation. And at COP 27 in Egypt, countries agreed to develop new funding arrangements that can mobilize resources to help developing economies suffering directly — and disproportionately — from the impacts of climate change, the foundation reported.

But on the other, the state of the environment has only continued to deteriorate. And at a year-end news conference last Monday, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced that, in 2023, there will be a “no-nonsense” climate summit to help the world combat continually moving in the “wrong direction” on climate change.

As the goal of avoiding global warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius begins to slip out of reach, The Nature Conservancy recently released a list of New Year’s climate resolutions for 2023, allowing for people to take action at home, too.

“There’s no silver bullet, but there’s silver buckshot,” said Katharine Hayhoe, the chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, of the challenges of the changing climate.

Every year, she adds two new green habits to her life that have not only helped the planet, but also cut her home costs. These are some of her suggestions.

Look at your carbon scale: The first step to cutting your carbon emissions is to figure out where they are coming from. Your largest contributions could come from your household, travel, food and other factors. Try The Nature Conservancy’s carbon calculator, or the CoolClimate Calculator from the University of California Berkeley, to find out exactly what you and your family “weigh.”

Have a “light bulb moment”: Switching your incandescent bulbs for LED replacements could cut your emissions from lighting by up to 85 percent. That equates to a half-ton reduction in carbon emissions every year per household — and you’ll save money on your next electricity bill. Even with the new LEDs, don’t forget to also keep the lights off when not in use.

Set the temperature: Installing a programmable thermostat could lower your emissions — and energy bill — by 15 percent.

Upgrade your appliances: When it’s time, go for an Energy Star-rated refrigerator or washing machine. If every new appliance had that rating, it would be like taking 350,000 cars off the road. Like LEDs, these appliances will also often save you money on your utility bills.

Cut your food waste: In the United States, we throw out over 40 percent of the food we produce. Worse, as it decays, it produces so many heat-trapping gases that if global food waste were its own country, it would be the No. 4 biggest emitter in the world. If you can, shop more often, buy less and plan ahead to cut back on waste.

Talk to your community: Though many Americans are concerned or alarmed about climate change, only 14 percent of us are talking about it. Start the conversation with people at work, your gym, your yoga studio, your children’s school. Share why climate change matters to all of us and encourage them to make smart choices — like making their buildings energy efficient, switching to clean energy, changing their light bulbs and cutting their food waste.

Wash your clothes in cold water: Hot water uses five times the energy of cold water, and your garments will get just as clean. You may get a lower energy bill, too.

Talk to your leaders: Our personal choices only control about 40 percent of national emissions, so individual actions alone can’t stop climate change. And we can’t always afford to make the more environmentally conscious choice, even if we’d like to. Towns, states and countries can all make a difference, but they won’t act unless we ask them to.

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