What You Can Do About Global Warming | Union of Concerned Scientists

What You Can Do about Global Warming

Because emissions of heat-trapping gases in the United States are so high and continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, Americans have a special responsibility and opportunity to reduce global warming. Here are some ways you can help:

Take Personal Action

Reduce your personal contribution to global warming and set an example for others by using less gasoline, natural gas, oil, and electricity (especially electricity generated from coal-fired power plants) in your daily life. Here are three suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of gas you burn by choosing a fuel-efficient car or other transportation that uses less (or no) fossil fuel per person, such as trains, subways, and buses; car pools; walking; and biking.  
  • Buy efficient appliances that use less electricity. Look for the Energy Star, awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Reduce every day electrical use. Develop a plan to reduce daily electricity use around your home. Ask each member of your household to take responsibility for a different electricity-saving action, such as turning off lights when leaving the room, unplugging appliances when they are not in use, using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and only running dishwashers or washing machines with full loads.

Our 2012 book, Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living, offers a wealth of science-based advice on how to reduce your global warming impact by "sweating the right stuff." It also inspires and challenges you to become a low-carbon leader in your community—our Cooler Smarter Trivia Night Kit provides you with a fun and engaging way to get started.

Encourage Community Action

Work within your community to promote energy efficiency and use of clean energy. Here are some good places to start:

  • Make it easier for community members to use energy-efficient transportation. For example, promote community carpooling plans and the construction of bike lanes, and urge local businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to install bike racks.
  • Encourage the use of clean, renewable energy in publicly funded projects. For example, suggest that new construction or significant remodeling projects incorporate passive-solar techniques.
  • Work with your local electric utilities. Encourage them to promote energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable energy sources.

Check the UCS Activist Resource Center for tips on working with policy makers and the media.

Influence U.S. Action

The United States needs to play a leadership role in addressing global warming, and you can help make this happen.

  • Write to your local newspaper about the significance of global warming and the need for U.S. leadership, or respond to stories and letters that dismiss global warming.
  • Write or call President Obama to let him know you expect him to be an international leader on this issue.
  • Contact your U.S. representatives and senators to encourage them to support actions that reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases.
  • Ask your governor, state legislators, and public utility regulators to promote energy efficiency, nonpolluting transportation alternatives, and the development of clean, renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power.

Join Others Who Take a Stand

Help our voices be heard. Join with others who are working to reduce global warming. 

  • If you are a scientist, economist, engineer, or health professional, join our UCS Science Network to influence fast-breaking media and policy developments on global warming issues.

See what our activists have been doing recently and what they've helped us accomplish.


Last Revised: 01/28/11

A great resource, what YOU can do about global warming... each of us can take action.