Massive CO2 Savings in 2010: Businesses, Individuals & Government Step Up


Image credit: 10:10 Campaign

While blowing up climate skeptic school kids may have angered both detractors and proponents, the 10:10 Campaign—an initiative to encourage individuals, companies and organizations to cut CO2 emissions 10% in one year—has still managed to cause a huge stir in one short year. And it's achieved some pretty amazing emissions reductions too. Even the whole of the British government pledged to reduce its own carbon footprint 10% in 2010—but that was just one of many groundbreaking pledges. Now the campaign is looking back on what it achieved, and setting its sites for even bigger things in the coming year. While a pledge from an airport to cut its (ground-based operating) emissions 10% was rejected by the 10:10 campaign for not tackling the most pressing problem of aviation emissions, there were plenty of examples of organizations that were brought into the fold, and which often achieved emissions savings of well over 10%. (It should be noted, of course, that the 10:10 campaign does not have resources to audit each participant, so figures are often based on self-reporting.)

Peter Barkham writes over at The Guardian about his attempts to cut emissions as part of the 10:10 campaign—which included a pledge to buy no new clothes in 2010, and to cut his car mileage in half—and he also recounts some stories from other participating companies and institutions. Most interestingly, for those skeptical of Government promises to reduce emissions, Barkham tells us that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is currently installing live energy monitoring in its buildings, so the public can keep track of its energy use. (That should please the fiscal conservatives among us.)

Other organizations stepping up to slash their energy use included the London Science museum, which achieved a reported 17% cut through better energy monitoring and management, and the Hall for Cornwall—Cornwall's biggest theater—which achieved similar figures through encouraging staff to better manage their computerized heating and energy management system.

British Embassies around the world also made good on the Government's promises to cut back on air-travel related emissions by encouraging diplomats to fly coach and better use of video conferencing:

"The British embassy in Buenos Aires cut its emissions by 33% in a year, with a 25.6% reduction coming through much greater use of video conferencing instead of flights. Turning off air-conditioning fans overnight also reduced its energy use. The British embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the high commission in Abuja, Nigeria, also achieved cuts of more than 20%."

As for Barkham himself, his pledge to not buy new clothes was relatively successful (discounting a few Christmas gifts, and a new raincoat when his own jacket went missing while hiking), but cutting car mileage in half proved to be too much. Nevertheless, alongside 110,000 other individuals, over 4000 businesses, and 45% of the country's councils, the simple act of pledging these cuts has clearly provided Barkham with a new awareness and a clear path to action.

While the project was originally conceived as a one-year effort, Barkham tells us that the massive response has spurned demand for an ongoing initiative. Many participants are already looking to identify where they can achieve their next 10% of cuts now the low hanging fruit is out of the way, and the campaign is expanding both its online presence and its international reach. A new online Facebook application for tracking and cutting your carbon emissions is expected soon.

Watch this space.

More on the 10:10 Campaign
a href="http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/10/violent-climate-change-film.php">Violent Climate Change Campaign Lands 10:10 Campaign in Trouble
British Ambassadors Fly Economy to Cut CO2 (and Spending)
Eco-Snobbery or Drawing the Line: Campaign Rejects Airport Emissions Pledge
British Government Pledges 10% CO2 Cuts in 2010
Is the Whole of Britain Cutting its Carbon? 10:10 Campaign Kicks Off

Tags: Activism | Carbon Emissions | Carbon Footprint | Economics | Global Climate Change | United Kingdom

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