Zero Emissions Day is an annual global environmental campaign to reduce the burning of fossil fuels. Every year on 21 September, people, organisations and communities around the world commit to reducing their emissions. The campaign has been running since 2008, when the website “A Global Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Combustion” was launched to raise awareness about the burning of fossil fuels and what each individual can do to conserve this finite resource. The main focus of Zero Emissions Day is to stop burning gas, oil or coal, minimise or stop using electricity from fossil fuels and instead opt for clean and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Electricity from fossil fuels is now the single largest source of air emissions and, according to Cambridge University Press, the source of two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuel combustion thus actively contributes to air pollution, smog, acid rain and has a direct impact on climate change. In addition to environmental risks, air pollutants also adversely affect global health and are linked to serious health risks and diseases such as respiratory problems and increased risk of cancer.
EMAS can help organisations drive systematic change by reducing or eliminating fossil fuels on a large scale in a number of ways. Emissions are one of the key environmental core indicators included within EMAS. EMAS organizations are required to consider (air) emissions in their overall environmental performance. Already during the initial Environmental Review, EMAS organisations are requested to examine in detail their activities in terms of air emissions, among other things. EMAS makes it a condition of registration within the scheme that environmental performance is continuously monitored and improved. Reporting on core performance indicators is an obligation.
In return, organisations are provided with a clear path to continuous improvement, e.g. by facilitating the setting of clear objectives, targets, policies and procedures, by helping organisations to measure their environmental impacts, and by requiring organisations to report on their activities annually. In this way, EMAS contributes to building an organisational structure in which environmental activities are geared towards higher performance, transparency and responsibility.
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