Top Ten Actions You Can Take to Help Stop Global Warming

On the Road

Drive Less
Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 lbs of CO2 out of the atmosphere.  Decreasing the amount you drive by walking, biking, carpooling, or using public transport can significantly reduce your emissions. 

Drive Smart
If all Americans maintained proper air pressure in their tires, nationwide gasoline use would decrease by 2%.  A properly tuned engine could boost gas mileage from 4% to 40% and a new air filter can improve gas mileage by up to 10%.[1] 

Purchase an Efficient Car
The most important personal decision for global warming is the car you drive.  The next time you buy a car, get a hybrid or choose the least polluting, most-efficient car that meets your needs.  Better gas mileage not only reduces global warming but also saves you thousands of dollars at the pump.[2] 

At Home

Purchase Green Power
Many states allow you to choose your power provider.  If you live in one of these states, pick a company that produces at least half of its power from clean, renewable resources.  If you cannot choose your provider, you can still support clean energy  by buying renewable energy certificates (RECs) or “green tags” from your utility or from sellers you can find on the internet.  These tags help fund renewable and clean energy sources.  With these you can support clean energy elsewhere in the country and decrease fossil fuel demand.[3] 

Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
If every household in the United States replaced one incandescent light bulb in their home with a compact fluorescent, it would save 90 million pounds of global warming pollution over the lifetime of the bulbs.  This would be equal to taking 6.3 million cars off the road.  Though compact fluorescent light bulbs are more expensive than conventional light bulbs, they last 10 times longer.  One bulb can lower your energy bill by $15 annually and reduce your CO2 emissions by 150 lbs.[4]  Compact fluorescent light bulbs must be disposed of properly and some parts recycled.

Recycle and Buy Recycled Products
Recycling your newsprint, glass, plastic, metal, and cardboard can save a lot of energy that is needed to make new products.  Recycling 50% can save 2,400 lbs of CO2 per year.  Using 100% recycled paper in your printer can save 5 lbs of CO2 per ream.[5] 

Insulate/Weatherize your Home
Proper insulation can reduce heating and cooling needs significantly, especially in the attic/crawlspace and walls.  This can save 2,000 lbs of CO2 and $245 annually.  Weatherization of windows and other leaky places can keep hot air out during the summer and cold air out during the winter increasing your comfort level and saving you money.  Better yet, conduct a home energy audit to identify the areas where energy is lost and that are most cost-effective.[6]   

Adjust Thermostat/Maintain Furnace
Turning the heating and cooling down at night and when you leave the house can save significant energy.  Lowering the thermostat 2 degrees in the winter and raising it 2 degrees in the summer can save 2000 lbs of CO2 and $98 annually.  Better yet, install a programmable thermostat to heat and cool rooms only when necessary.  Keep your furnace tuned up and replace air filters regularly for maximum efficiency.[7]

Appliance Use
Turn off everything when not in use (lights, computers, TVs, etc.) and use energy saving features. Unplug appliances or turn off power strips when they aren’t in use; they can drain unnecessary power and increase your electricity bill. When old appliances wear out (refrigerators, dishwashers, washers/dryers, TVs), replace them with ENERGY STAR appliances.  They are more efficient than typical models, using 2 to 10 times less energy and will save you money over the life of the appliance.[8]

Hot Water Use
Most water heaters keep water hotter than is needed for everyday use.  Keeping your water heater at 120º F can save 550 lbs of CO2 and $30 a year.  A water heater blanket for insulation can improve efficiency and avoid energy loss.  Showers account for 2/3 of all water heating costs.  Taking shorter showers and installing low-flow shower heads can save 350 lbs of CO2 and $99 annually.  Also, washing clothes in cold or warm water can save up to 500 lbs of CO2 per year.  When the time comes to replace your water heater, purchase the most efficient model, or, if possible, consider a tankless, “on-demand” water heater or a solar thermal system.[9]


[1] NRDC
[3] NRDC
[4] UCS, NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife
[5] WWF,
[6] Alliance to Save Energy,, NRDC
[7], Alliance to Save Energy, Environmental Defense
[8] Alliance to Save Energy, ACEEE, Greenpeace
[9] ACEEE, Alliance to Save Energy, Defenders of Wildlife, WWF,, Environmental Defense, NET

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