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Reducing Greenhouse Gases: Mitigating Climate Change

Whether government, industry, community or individual, you have options for helping to decrease the intensity of radiative forcing that is changing the Earth’s climate. Mitigation efforts typically involve reducing greenhouse gas concentrations by controlling their sources, such as energy consumption and methane seepage from landfills.

Climate change mitigation also involves managing carbon and methane sinks. Sinks are natural or manmade reservoirs that accumulate and store compounds containing greenhouse gases. Carbon sinks include oceans, which absorb carbon dioxide, and plants and algae, which convert carbon dioxide into energy and oxygen through photosynthesis. Scientists at the U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory and in think-tanks and universities around the world are working to develop carbon capture and sequestration technologies to help reduce the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

The State of Minnesota committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions (Next Generation Energy Act of 2007) by expecting that a quarter of the electricity Minnesotans use will come from renewable resources by 2025. The state legislators also agreed that the greenhouse gas emissions produced in Minnesota will drop by 80% between 2006 and 2050. Community and industry efforts to curb carbon emissions are essential to this endeavor, but individual actions are also cumulative and necessary.

Calculate your carbon footprint and discover some ways to reduce it!

CoolClimate Calculator, developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, lets users compare their results to typical households in their region, and to households of similar size and income.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Household Emissions Calculator provides information on how much money you might save by implementing energy-saving recommendations.

The Global Footprint Network’s calculator involves an avatar, which should intrigue young and old alike.

Zerofootprint Kids Calculator covers information related to food, travel, and recycling in a bright, clear, and interactive way.

Note: Online carbon footprint calculators are also available for businesses, architects and builders, and campuses in North America.

More Resources

Minnesota Sea Grant journal reprint! JR 546. Olabisi, L.S., P. B. Reich, K. A. Johnson, A. R. Kapuscinski, S. Suh and E. J. Wilson. 2009. Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Climate Stabilization: Framing Regional Options. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2009, 43 (6), pp 1696–1703.

wikiHow. How to Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

U.S. Energy Information Administration


This page last modified on April 07, 2010     © 1996 – 2017 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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