What are the most cost-effective actions we can take, personally?

  • Everyone knows that combustion of gasoline creates greenhouse gas emissions, so one of the most popularly known options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to switch to an electric-drive vehicle (EV). However, this comes with a very large up-front cost that makes it unreachable for many people.

    For example, a new Nissan Leaf costs around USD$30,000. Compared to driving a car with an internal combustion engine (an "ICE" vehicle) the Leaf would reduce emissions by about 15 tonnes of CO2. As a back-of-the-napkin calculation, this means the cost of emissions abatement is around $2000/tonne. That's way higher than any carbon tax or carbon offset! Surely there are much cheaper options available.

    Which actions can we take in our personal lives (those which we have total decisive control over) have the best bang for the buck in terms of cost per tonne of avoided CO2 or CO2e?

  • @nicwaller By living in an urban setting, I'm able to get by quite easily without owning a car. I take electrified public transit and rent a car when I absolutely need to. Not only is this way less expensive, but it reduces my personal impact significantly. Of course, not everyone can or wants to live in a city but generally, densifying our living situation will allow us to use more common services and reduce impact per capita.

    Electric vehicles still can't come quick enough though! Are you considering buying an EV?

  • The best I've found so far is through my electric utility, PSE:

    I'm guessing there are equivalents for most utility companies elsewhere. Look up your utility company to see what your options are!

    Personally, I've been using PSE's Green Power program for about 4 years now. It's effortless and only costs me a few extra dollars a month. I'm not sure it's an equal comparison, but to me it's like a self-imposed carbon tax. There's also an equivalent program for businesses, and businesses get to show this off (I've seen a sticker for it around locally a few times).

    The only concern is: where does the money go? It does involve some trust of your local utility company to put the extra dollars in a useful place. The (annual, I think) newsletter attempts to clarify some of this but it's still not super clear.

    I'm sure my car puts off a lot more emissions than my electricity does via its generation, but at least at this price point, it's not a big decision, I can turn it off whenever I want, and it's hopefully making a positive impact in my community. I would like to find more options like this where I can put a little more money into it, instead of just a couple hundred dollars a year, what could I do with a few thousand? But again, not $30,000 for a new car...

  • Check out carboncodex.app.

    It’s mindfulness for your transportation choices.

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