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Planet CLE: Reduce your driving to curb greenhouse gas emissions

Join WKYC Studios as we help to reduce carbon emissions by driving less.

CLEVELAND — Did you know that transportation, not industry, is the single biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions

Unfortunately we here in Ohio are among the worst at pumping out pollutants.

"It matters significantly what we do here in Ohio and what we do in Cleveland from a global perspective, because Ohioans are such a high emitters," said John Mitterholzer, Climate and Environmental Justice Director for the Gordon Gund Foundation. "We are now the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the United States," he said.

Mitterholzer has calculated that if Ohio were a country, it would be the 26th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

A new United Nations report released earlier this month warned that it's now or never to stop a global disaster from climate change. To do that, the U.N. estimates that the world needs to stop increasing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, then cut them by 43-percent by the end of the decade.

"There are some really easy things we can do, like combine our trips, be more focused in that way, and take public transportation -- it's probably one of the best things that we can do," said Mitterholzer.

It's why WKYC Studios is kicking off the Planet CLE Initiative. Every month we'll be launching a new challenge to help the planet. First up: The WKYC Drive Less Challenge. From now until the end of May, we are challenging you to reduce your amount of driving by at least one day. Whether it's taking public transportation, or joining a carpool, biking or walking to your destination, or maybe allow employees to work from home for a day. 

To help people rethink their ride, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, or NOACA, has the GOhio Commute website. Just enter your address and your destination, and the site will map out alternate transportation, and even match you with a nearby carpool. The site will even calculate your savings in gas and carbon emissions.

"Trips from work to home --.home to work, school, doctors, extracurricular activities -- 94-percent of those trips are in single-occupancy vehicles," said Grace Gallucci, executive director of NOACA.

One day without driving can be the start of change.

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