Minimise

Why Minimise

There are so many stories we can tell ourselves to justify doing nothing about the impending climatic catastrophe, but perhaps the most insidious is that, whatever we do, will be too little too late.  That it will take the Government and the Big Corporate to make any difference.

Climate change has arrived well ahead of schedule. Scientists’ projections that seemed dire a decade ago turn out to have been unduly optimistic: the warming and the melting, and the positive feedback loop connecting them, is occurring much faster than the models predicted.  It is true that laws and money is necessary.  And yet, laws and money cannot do enough either.   It will also take profound changes in the way we live.  Because at the bottom of the climate-change crisis is another crisis - that of our lifestyles. The Big Problem is nothing more or less than the sum total of countless little everyday choices, most of them made by us consumers, and most of the rest made in the name of our needs, desires and preferences.

Striving to live in harmony with Nature is not a new endeavour. In the past, the reasons for doing so have been different – like the Gandhian values of inculcating self-sufficiency.  However, since the time of Adam Smith, we have moved inexorably towards “division of labour”.  Unfortunately, this move towards specializaton has also proved to be a move away from personal responsibility. We have abdicated responsibility for everything except the very narrow range of products/ services whose “producers” we are.  The rest of the time, we are just “consumers”. Virtually all of our needs and desires we delegate to specialists of one kind or another — our meals to agribusiness, health to the doctor, education to the teacher, entertainment to the media, care for the environment to the environmentalist, political action to the politician.

This division of labor has given us many of the blessings of civilization Yet this same division of labor obscures the lines of connection — and responsibility — linking our everyday acts to their real-world consequences, making it easy for us to overlook the coal-fired power plant that lights our computer screen, or the mountaintop that had to be destroyed to provide the coal to that plant, or the streams running crimson with heavy metals as a result.  Specialists ourselves, we can no longer imagine anyone but an expert, or anything but a new technology or law, solving our problems. As the closing credits roll out at the end of “An Inconvenient Truth”, Al Gore asks of us only that we change our light bulbs, because he probably can’t imagine us doing anything much more challenging, like, say, growing some portion of our own food.

The reasons not to act are many and compelling.  But here are a few reasons that we might put on the other side of the scale:

If we do act, we will set an example for other people. If enough other people act, each one influencing yet another in a chain reaction of behavioral change, markets for all manner of green products and alternative technologies will prosper and expand. (Just look at the market for hybrid cars.) Consciousness will be raised, perhaps even changed: new moral imperatives and new taboos might take root in the culture. Driving a gas-guzzler or setting the at AC at 15C might come to be regarded as outrages to human conscience. Not having things might become cooler than having them. And those who did change the way they live would acquire the moral standing to demand changes in behavior from others — from other people, other corporations, even other countries.

How do you know you have it right!

Deciding to take responsibility for one’s consumption choices is only the first step in minimizing our carbon footprint.  While the implications of some choices are fairly well evaluated – like using less electrical power from the grid; for others, the information is, at best, incomplete, and at worst, misleading and confusing!

What to buy!

The past few years have seen an explosion of green marketing.  While this has made available to the consumer more choices, consumers may find themselves perplexed by how to gauge the environmental impact of the many products that claim to be eco-friendly. For one, as of now, it is very difficult to evaluate the claims of products that say they are biodegradable, carbon neutral or made from sustainable materials. Even if one were to take the green-claims of the various manufacturers at face value, there are still many processes whose Carbon footprint implications cannot be clearly evaluated. Is eating local or walking to work really going to reduce my carbon footprint? According to one analysis, if walking to work increases your appetite and you consume more meat or milk as a result, walking might actually emit more carbon than driving.

Perfect knowledge, that takes into account the sourcing of the raw materials, the manufacturing process, the transportation involved, and the final disposal, is many years away.  The best we can do for now, is to make informed choice with the limited information we have and to realize that instead of buying three pairs of organic cotton jeans, it is better to buy just one pair, and even better to make do with our existing pair of ordinary jeans

How much to buy!

Conspicuous consumption is a significant part of the Global Warming problem. Therefore, it doesn’t require too much intelligence to hypothesize thus: it is a misconception that by buying anything, whether Green or not, we are solving the problem.

Environmentalists say some products marketed as green may pump more carbon into the atmosphere than choosing something more modest, or simply nothing at all.  Coming back to an earlier point - instead of buying three pairs of organic cotton jeans, it is better to buy just one pair, and even better to make do with our existing pair of ordinary jeans

This section of NO2CO2 will try to present and evaluate “Minimizing” options.  We strive to stay up to date with current technological developments, be as fair as possible while evaluating different options and state up-front if any issues are unresolved.  Any errors of judgments or facts is completely unintentional and we will be very happy to be corrected.


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Fuel Additives

General Description

Efficient combustion of fuels can lead to enhanced fuel efficiency. This could be achieved my decreasing the size of 'fuel particles' at the time when they are combusted in an engine. This is effect is commonly referred to as 'atomization'. Simply put, this means fewer liters or kgs of fuel required to drive a certain distance. This effect in itself leads to reduction of all emissions, including Greenhouse Gasses, from vehicular travel per kilometer driven. Some fuel additives also alter physical and/or chemical properties of fuels and can enhance fuel efficiency. For instance, if fuel is burnt at lower temperatures in an engine (something that could be achieved by lowering the 'flash point' of the fuel - a chemical property), then wastage of energy through heat is curbed and more of the fuel's energy is sued to propel the vehicle. It is evident that even this would translate to lower emissions per kilometer driven.

Footprint Savings

Cost Savings

Resource Savings

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Fuel Efficient Cars

General Description

Smaller or more fuel efficient cars of the same size can greatly impact your personal carbon footprint by enabling you consume lesser fuel for traveling a given distance. Footprint reductions are directly proportional to the fuel efficiency (kilometers drivable per liter or kg of fuel).
Consider purchasing a more fuel efficient car from amongst this list to minimise your vehicular travel footprint.

Footprint Savings

Cost Savings

Resource Savings

 

Electric Cars

General Description

Hand down the most potent vehicle in terms of reducing carbon footprint and also eliminating local city air pollution levels is the REVA Electric Car. While the REVA doesn’t actually emit any gasses while being driven, the electricity used to charge its batteries has a carbon footprint associated with it. Our analysis has revealed that despite the relatively ‘dirty’ electric power available in India (stemming from the fact that grid-supplied electricity in India is predominantly coal-based thermal energy (with high greenhouse gas emissions relative to other power generation fuels) and that transmission and distribution losses are in the range of 35%) the REVA results in greenhouse gas emissions that are approximately 10% lower than the most fuel efficient car on Indian roads. An average 4-door sedan in India produces approximately 40% more emissions per kilometer relative to the REVA

Footprint Savings

Cost Savings

Resource Savings

 

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Electric Scooters

General Description

Electric scooters are vehicles with that use electric motors and electricity as a fuel to attain locomotion.

Footprint Savings
An electric bike can save annual footprint by nearly 493 kg CO2e per year.

Cost Savings
Switching your petrol bike to electric can yield savings of Rs. 21406 annually (based on driving 50 kms/day).

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CNG

General Description

Fuels differ greatly in their impact on global warming through varying quantities of greenhouse gasses emitted per liter or kilogram burned. Since, however, the mileage provided by these fuels also differs – it is more logical to consider the greenhouse gas emissions per kilometer of travel.Calculations specific to fuel types and fuel quality available in India have revealed that for an average 4-wheeler vehicle, CNG fuel produces approximately 35% less greenhouse gas emissions per km or travel relative to petrol. Diesel fuel has approximately 7% lesser emissions per km traveled relative to petrol – however, because of its significantly greater impacts on other pollutants (besides greenhouse gases), diesel isn’t an advisable alternative to reduce the overall environmental footprint from travel. Based on this, it is evident that switching your automotive fuel system form petrol/diesel to CNG can reduce vehicular footprint by 35%. This can be done by retrofitting CNG kits into exiting cars; a process that has, in recent years, been standardized across the industry and no longer involves any compromise on driving safety
Footprint Savings

It can reduce annual footprint by nearly 0.8 tonnes of CO2e per year.

Cost Savings

Switching your car to CNG can yield savings of Rs. 37,000 annually (based on driving 30 kms/day)

Resource Savings

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Public Transport

General Description

A single kilometer of travel in an average petrol-fuelled Indian car would result in the same Footprint as a 15 km long local train journey. In other words, local train travel in a city is 1500% more energy efficient and 1500% less taxing on your carbon footprint than a petrol-fuelled vehicle. Its exceedingly high cost efficiency is possibly already known to all. Furthermore, with the urban citizen increasingly plagued by growing vehicular traffic congestion it also presents tremendous opportunity for saving commuting time.
Footprint Savings

Substituting even a modest percentage of car-driven trips with local train, bus or even autorickshaws can have a significant impact of your carbon footprint. For the case of 30 km driving everyday (i.e. approximately 10,000 km per year), substituting just 25% of your petrol-fuelled car trips (1 in 4) with local train, bus, and autorickshaw can reduce annual carbon footprint by 0.5 tonnes of CO2e in the case of train and bus and by approximately 0.37 tonnes of CO2e for autorickshaw.

Cost Savings

Resource Savings

Carpooling

Combining car trips with family, friends, office colleagues by some thoughtful scheduling can reduce congestion on city roads and have a direct beneficial impact on the carbon footprint of all involved. Formally, this is known as ‘Carpooling’. To enable urban citizens find other persons willing to carpool to a common destination (workplace, shopping etc.), carpooling websites have been proliferating in many cities across India. These websites require you to set-up a traveling profile and provide email addresses etc. so that persons interested in carpooling with you can contact you. You in-turn can view existing profiles to investigate if there are already other residents of your city who are keen on carpooling on your chosen route.


 

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Smart Driving

General Description

Two important ways to reduce air pollution are to drive less, even a little less, and drive smart. Taking fewer trips in your car or truck helps cut air pollution, and adopting smart driving habits reduces your car’s emissions.

How to Drive Smart

Accelerate gradually

Use cruise control on the highway

Obey the speed limit

Combine multiple errands into one trip

Keep your car tuned and get routine smog checks

Don’t top off at gas stations

Replace your air filter regularly

Keep tires properly inflated

Footprint Savings

Cost Savings

Resource Savings

 

Car Maintenance

General Description

Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Car

Maintenance - Keep your car tuned up and running efficiently.  

More Maintenance - Replace your air, oil and fuel filters according to schedule.  

Tires - Keep your tires properly inflated (just this can save 400-700 pounds of CO2 per year).  

Drive better - Studies have shown up to 30% of the difference in miles per gallon (MPG) is due to driving habits alone.  You could save more than a ton of CO2 per year by:

  - Accelerating slowly and smoothly

  - Driving the speed limit

  - Maintaining a steady speed

  - Anticipating your stops and starts


Footprint Savings

Cost Savings

Resource Savings

Engine Cold Start vs. Warm Start

General Description

Idling engine for the 1st minute after engine start can greatly reduce the per-km GHG emissions (due to increased fuel efficiency) during the first few kms of a jouney. This principle holds even for relatively warm climates - cold starts are not be miscontrued as starting engine in cold climates only!. Cold starts are those events where you begin driving your vehicle immediately after turning on your engine after its been in a static state for a while. These need to be avoided as far as possible.

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