The story so far
An increase in greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere is causing the world to heat up at a faster rate than for thousands of years.
There’s overwhelming scientific evidence, not only that climate change is happening, but also that it’s caused by our activities.
Unless we take action to stop climate change the effects on our lives, our environment and our economies will be devastating.
Some climate change is now unavoidable
It’s too late now for us to stop climate change completely – the increase in greenhouse gas levels are such that, even if we were to stop using fossil fuels completely today, the climate would continue to change.
However, it’s still possible to prevent the worst effects of climate change. So what needs to happen and what actions could reduce the risk of an abrupt and irreversible climate change which could change the face of earth as we know it?
We must reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions
Carbon dioxide is the key greenhouse gas which causes global warming. We all cause carbon dioxide to be emitted each day in the electricity and heat we use in our homes and offices and in our travel.
Also, other parts of our lifestyles cause emissions indirectly, for example in the energy used to create the products and services we buy and use.
This graph shows the historic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the last 300 years. It shows that levels have been rising consistently in line with our growing use of fossil fuels.
Currently we have a level of around 380 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 in our atmosphere.
Source: Measurements from peak of Mauna Loa mountain in Hawaii
Scientists current view is that the “point of no return” is at a level of around 500 ppm of CO2. If we continue on our present course we’ll reach this level around 2030. This could spell disaster for all of us.
What’s your Carbon Footprint?
Your carbon footprint is a measure of your contribution to climate change in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced. On average, each of us in the UK causes 13 tonnes of carbon dioxide to be emitted each year.
How can we save the world?
There’s no doubt that climate change is a global issue and will need concerted action from govenments, businesses and populations alike.
However, the principles of how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and stop climate change are very simple and can be applied in the same way by everyone.
1) Don’t Waste Energy
By saving energy we reduce the need to burn fossil fuels and emit carbon dioxide. This website is packed full of product ideas and practical advice for saving energy.
2) Switch to Renewable Energy
If we use renewable energy sources where possible then we significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This website includes details of how to generate your own electricity and heat or buy from renewable suppliers.
3) Offset the remainder
For unavoidable activities which cause carbon dioxide emissions you can now buy offsets which “counteract” your impact by investing in emission-reducing projects.
So, now you understand climate change, what causes it and that you personally can take simple steps to make a difference.