Climate change mitigation involves taking action to limit or slow the rate of climate change. There are many ways to mitigate climate change at the governmental, community, and individual level. For example, governments can establish policies and regulations to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Businesses can invest in renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases they produce. They can also examine their supply chains or other aspects of their business for opportunities to lower emissions. Families can bike or walk to work or school; if they don't have a safe option, they can ask their community leaders to ensure they do.
For all mitigation strategies, there is a common theme of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, many emission reduction efforts will also improve health. Several broad strategies to prevent climate change are discussed below.
Improving energy efficiency
Improving energy efficiency in our homes and office buildings can successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the additional benefit of reducing the risk of heat-related illness. Buildings that are older, poorly insulated, or made of materials that retain heat require more energy to regulate temperature. Improving a building's insulation and utilizing innovative building techniques, such as putting gardens or vegetation on the roofs of buildings, can lower a building's capacity to retain heat. This in turn decreases energy use, leading to deceased greenhouse gas emissions.
In the event of a heat wave, these "cool" buildings also provide a place for people to cool off, reducing their risk of heat-related illness. Additionally, cool buildings can decrease the heat island effect, reducing people's susceptibility to heat-related illness.
Better integrating transportation and land use
Better integration of transportation (how we get around) and land use (where we are going) can reduce greenhouse gases and improve our health at the same time. In places with greater distances between homes, workplaces, and everyday destinations, commuters drive more and produce more automobile emissions. We can reduce driving by developing communities where our everyday destinations - homes, schools, work, groceries, daycare - are closer together and serviced with safe transit options (trains, buses, bikes, and sidewalks). Less driving means less exhaust, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and better air quality.
In addition, developing neighborhoods with accessible destinations close by can increase physical activity within a community, with more people choosing to walk to work or to run an errand. This can reduce motor vehicle collisions, improve air quality, and increase physical fitness.