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Less children, better action to reduce carbon footprint

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – PHILIPPE HUGUEN – | A primary school in Tourcoing, June 26, 2017

Among the four most useful individual measures to reduce its carbon footprint, the most effective is to make fewer children, according to a Swedish study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

“We concluded that there are four actions that can significantly reduce the individual carbon footprint: a vegetarian diet, avoid travel by air, not have a car and have fewer children,” summarizes Seth Wynes Of Lund University in Sweden.

Thus, not owning a car avoids about emitting the equivalent of 2.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, while a meatless feeding allows not to emit 0.8 tons of CO2 annually, Have calculated these researchers.

Do not take the airplane results in a reduction of 1.6 tons of CO2 per trip, also specifies the report.

But having fewer children is by far the most effective measure against global warming, according to the study.

Having one child less means reducing CO2 emissions by 58.6 tonnes per year, the authors said.

“An American family that chooses to have fewer children contributes to the same level of CO2 reduction than 684 adolescents who decide to systematically recycle their waste for the rest of their lives,” they say.

These researchers identified these four measures by analyzing 39 studies published in scientific journals and government reports that calculate how lifestyle choices individuals can reduce the carbon footprint.

They also analyzed government-recommended measures to combat global warming in Canada, the United States, Australia and Europe and found that they typically produce significantly fewer CO2 reductions.

For example, one of the most encouraged strategies is to use electric light bulbs with low electricity consumption and to recycle as much as possible, actions that are eight and four times less efficient respectively than to adopt a regime vegetarian.

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