Archive for the ‘Article On Climate Change’ Category

Only when have you been living in the Outer Hebrides for years, you would not have heard about climate change and its effect on the Earth.

 

 

In a nutshell, rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly Carbon Dioxide (CO2), resulting from man’s activities, are causing the planet to heat up (this used to be called global warming) causing all sorts of unpleasant side effects: melting ice caps, rising sea levels, very bad weather, water shortages, droughts, famine, extinction of species, and worse to come for us if we continue to ignore the warnings.

 

The big problem is that we’ve all been living like we had 4 planets to sustain us. In the South East we’ve been particularly bad apparently.

 

That’s the bad news. The good news is that if we all took some actions, even small ones, they’d add up to something much bigger that would make a difference, and maybe we can stop this thing, before, it gets really really awful.

 

(For a great explanation of all this, check out Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth – out on DVD now.)

 

So where to start. Well, first off we each need to work out our own carbon footprint – a measure of our individual impact on the environment, measured in units of CO2 – and then we can work out how to go about reducing it.

 

As a guide, the carbon footprint of a typical household breaks down like this:

 

– roughly 1/3 of the CO2 emissions come from the energy used to heat and power your home
– another 1/3 comes from transport, including driving, and especially flights, one of the worst culprits, and
– the final 1/3 comes from food miles ie the emissions resulting from getting food to your table (which is why it’s important to get locally grown food as much as possible).

 

Working out your carbon footprint can be quite complicated; you need your energy bills, to know how many miles you drive, and to work out how far you’ve flown, or travelled by train or bus, but there are quite a few websites out there that can help – try http://www.carbonfootprint.com or http://www.climatecare.org. The average for a UK household is about 12.5 tonnes of CO2.

 

When I worked out my own footprint, I discovered that almost 50% of my total carbon emissions last year came from two short haul flights (to Ibiza and Toulouse – 2 tonnes of CO2), which was quite an eye opener, and is making me think about how many flights I take in future. The next biggest contributor, at about 800 tonnes, was the electricity I use. Luckily I now buy green electricity, from 100% renewable sources like wind, solar and wave power – it doesn’t cost any more (go to http://www.goodenergy.com and say I sent you) – so I’ve done something about that. I also belong to a car club instead of owning a car, so my car usage is quite low.

 

Once you’ve worked out your own carbon footprint, you can set about reducing it – the long term target is a miniscule 1 tonne of CO2 per person per year. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Use alternatives to planes wherever possible (check out http://www.Seat61.com)

Avoid short trips in the car

Get low energy lightbulbs

Buy electricity from renewable sources

Turn things off when you’re not using them, and don’t leave appliances on standby, which can use up to 85% of the energy of the appliance

 

Cover food when cooking

Boil only the water you need

If everyone upgraded their fridge to an A-rated model, co2 emissions would be cut by the equivalent of 47 million double deckers of gas per year.

 

There are plenty more things you can do, and they all add up – have a look at my website http://www.nigelsecostore.com for things that can help you live a more eco-friendly and sustainable life.

 

And once you’ve got your footprint down as low as possible, you can think about carbon offsetting the rest, but that’s another story.

 

by Nigel Berman http://www.nigelsecostore.com

Climate change has become a frequently discussed issue over the past years, but in the last year there has been more and more discussion about it. The reason for this is that there is scarcely a day which goes by now without there being a major news story about unusual weather patterns.

Just this Summer and Autumn (2007), we have seen floods in the UK, and in the US. Drought in parts of Australia has been even more acute that usual, and Greece and California have experienced massive forest fires. However, by far the most dramatic has been the completely unexpected extent of the melting of the north west passage in the Arctic, and we have all seen the satellite images showing a much shrunken ice cap right across the whole Arctic region.

Global climate change is the single biggest environmental threat facing the planet. Climate change can occur naturally, and many argue that despite the majority scientific view that the cause is human activity, the cause is natural. Others argue that the increase on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere sounds as if it has risen hugely, the actual amount compared with the other gases is still very small. They reason that as it is still a very small proportion of our atmosphere, how could it be having the effect attributed to it?

Nevertheless, despite questions of this sort, the climate change or global warming we have seen does match the rise in human population and activity since the start of the industrial revolution, and it would be a rare man indeed who could deny that. Hence, most of us are beginning to accept global warming as a reality, and furthermore that human caused climate change is a fact.

Climate change impacts will range from affecting agriculture, further endangering food security, sea-level rise and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, plus increasing intensity of natural weather extremes. The reality of climate change, and mankind’s causal role in the process, are facts that must now be universally accepted.

Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are likely to further accelerate the rate of climate change. Sadly, it will be the poor, the young, and the weak who will suffer most. Children in developing countries are likely to face the greatest risks from climate change.

Nevertheless, we should not despair. There is much to be done, and much that can be done which will make a difference. The Kyoto Protocol is the international plan to reduce climate change pollution. Europe has led the diplomatic efforts which produced the Kyoto agreement. It is far from perfect but it is the only show in town which can produce change in the developing nations.

Rich countries, like the US and Australia don’t want to take action to stop climate change. That is understandable, as their economies will suffer if it puts heavy extra costs on businesses. It is argued that it is not proven yet that the extra burden will actually yield the degree of improved sustainability our globe will need in order to recover in time to avoid the worst effects. Yet, such sentiments are becoming less common.

Such ideas have been strongest in the US. However, former US vice-president Gore now shares the Nobel peace prize for his work on climate change. An election campaign is starting for George Bush’s successor, and even Bush is mellowing toward active support of climate change alleviation policies.

Across the whole US, local governments are also increasingly addressing climate change with their own solutions, giving much room for optimism.

It was decided at Kyoto that the developed nations would reduce their emissions, and that they would also pay the developing nations to avoid or reduce their rising emissions of carbon dioxide. It was reasoned that the best way to get this to work would be to create a market out of “carbon credits”, the carbon tonnages saved by investment from the west. The market would allow the high carbon emitting companies in the developed nations offset their continued emissions at home by paying for emissions savings overseas. This would have the additional benefit of raising the income of the poorest nations.

The British government, which is convinced that climate change has to be tackled, is leading the United Kingdom in its ambitious self-set targets for emissions reductions. Many other European nations also have similar policies in place. Scandinavian countries are even more advanced in their emissions reductions programmes than the UK.

So, the science is clear: climate change is happening, and it is linked directly to human activity. To bring climate change to a halt, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced significantly. But by how much, and how soon must we change our habits?

Many of the temperature data and computer models used to predict climate change are themselves uncertain, but experts now agree that the world needs to react very quickly now, or the problem of control will become exponentially more difficult.

The cost associated with the effects of climate change is projected to increase substantially over time with rising temperatures, and the longer we delay the worse it will be. To state that is simple common sense.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is one of the organisations which is working globally and in the UK to raise awareness about the causes and impacts of climate change and the available solutions. Wildlife organisations stress that biodiversity will be severely affected by climate change and sea-level rise, with an increased risk of extinction of very many species.

For some species however, the climate will be good, but at great human cost. The unobtrusive mosquito’s story illustrates a sobering consequence of climate change. Fewer frosts and generally warmer temperatures will allow the spread of diseases like malaria into more temperate climates. The species best suited to adapting may not be the ones people want to survive.

In general, we can reduce our demands on nature and the tonnages of carbon dioxide emitted by adopting sustainable development. Sustainable development can increase the capacity for adaptation and mitigation, and reduce vulnerability of societies to the impacts of climate change. Humans are already adapting to climate change, and further adaptation efforts will be necessary during coming decades.

New technologies are part of man’s adaptation and are being developed which are ‘green’ and will help reduce or even reverse climate change effects. These technologies will help us to be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.

There is much that can be done to stop catastrophic climate change but decisive action is needed from governments and industry now. Today, action is occurring at every level to reduce, to avoid, and to better understand the risks associated with climate change.

Climate Change for Better or Worse is a web site which was launched to help you understand what climate change is and how you can take action to combat it. Without action, climate change will cause the extinction of countless species and destroy some of the world’s most precious ecosystems, putting millions of people at risk. Diseases, declining crop yields, and natural disasters are just a few of the other impacts of climate change that could follow and devastate the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Delaying emission reduction measures limits the opportunities to achieve low stabilization levels and increases the risk of severe climate change impacts. Please act now to encourage your politicians to take urgent action.

If you hold sympathy with this article, and found it interesting, we are sure that you will enjoy, even more, a visit to our web site. Just continue down this page and follow the link below, and discover how you can take amazing action to make a difference.

Steve Evans is an environmental consultant and expert visit his web site at the Climate Change for Better or Worse – Articles Index page

He is a also a regular contributor of dog breed related articles, such as those at The Dog Breeds Compendium – Adopting a Shelter Dog page

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