An economist at the University of East Anglia (UEA) has determined that recommendations made by governmental agencies and environmental NGOs can limit consumers’ efforts to reduce their carbon footprints.
Dr. Grischa Perino believes that the recommendations for consumers are inappropriate in the European Union due to its Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) which is designed to cap emissions from the electricity production and aviation industries while allowing regulated sources to trade emission allowances.
Dr. Perino also discovered that of all the suggestions given by the government to curb emissions, like installing more energy efficient light bulbs and flying less often, only eating less meat actually reduces total emissions. He also notes that of all the recommendations by the EU ETS, agriculture is not covered and should be since it is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emission.
Dr. Perino also wanted to correct some misperceptions. While buying energy efficient appliances is cost effective and reduces certain types of environmental pollution, they do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions as commonly thought.
He stressed that in order to truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, consumers needed to focus on efforts not on the EU ETS’s list. Agriculture, road transport, and sectors with low energy intensity should be addressed as ways to limit emissions. Eating less meat, driving automobiles less, attending to home insulation all work toward reducing carbon footprint, yet these are not publically advocated by governmental agencies.