There are lots of simple energy saving tips on our “energy saving tips” page but probably the quickest, easiest and most substantial saving could be made if we all stopped flying …
Consider this: “A flight to the USA and back has the equivalent CO2 emissions per passenger mile, as driving an average family car for a year.” It is by far the most polluting form of travel and unfortunately, the budget airlines are encouraging more and more people to take to the skies, on unsustainable cheap flights, with little or no consideration to the impact this is having on the planet. So its easy to see how we could all make a huge impact on the world’s CO2 emissions by stopping holidaying abroad and start to enjoy our own country for holidays again, as we used to do years ago.
Economists tell us that we spend more abroad than tourists from other countries spend in the UK, so it would make sound economic sense, to stay and spend our money in this country. People fly to Switzerland and then they want cheap car hire Geneva Airport Swiss side deals. It’s human nature to try and make money stretch as far as possible.
Think about it, by continuing to fly abroad, you are basically saying that your holiday in the scorching sun, is more important than protecting the planet for your children’s future!
Climate Change is now the biggest problem mankind faces : FACT
Today, not a day goes by when a televison/radio news broadcast does not highlight at least one story related to Climate Change and its catastrophic effect on the planet – when are we going to get the message that – WE MUST ACT NOW
This group was established in the Lanarkshire town of Biggar in mid 2005, by a handful of individuals, concerned that not enough was being done by the Government to educate people fully on the potential impacts of climate change and to provide practical tips and solutions to help mitigate the problem.
Our aim is to get this message across using any means at our disposal. We also intend to lobby politicians, media people and celebrities to get involved in the campaign and assist us to spread the message to a wider audience.
We believe passionately, that we must all change our lifestyle quickly, in order to make a positive impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.”
Before we address the problem of how to mitigate Climate Change, we must first explain what it is:
Climate Change refers to the build-up of man made gases in the atmosphere that trap the sun’s heat, causing changes in weather patterns on a Global scale. These effects include floods from heavier & more persistant rainfall, sea-level rising, droughts, increased wind strength, stronger & more regular hurricanes and tornados, habitat loss and heat stress. The greenhouse gases of most concern are Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxides.
Whilst there is evidence that a percentage of these destructive weather patterns are naturally occuring, there is no doubt that human activity has contributed directly to the pollution of our atmosphere and the resulting heating up of the planet.. Primarily as a result of industrialisation 200 years ago and our relentless burning of fossil fuels, like coal, gas & oil ever since, without any real consideration of the consequences.
The rate of increase in GHG’s has recently doubled year on year plus the planet is no longer absorbing as much CO2 as it previously did. There has also been an increase in naturally occurring emissions, produced from things such as forests burning or dying back releasing CO2 and permafrost thawing in Siberia releasing tonnes of methane (23 times stronger than carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere & unfortunately, once started, we have no way of stopping this! So all this activity is increasing CO2 concentrations much faster than we had ever predicted. A recent exhibit hosted by http://www.ferriesfromportsmouth.org.uk/ certainly hit home re: some of the above points.
The latest science is telling us that we should be stabilising CO2 concentraions at around 350 ppm (parts per million) but unfortunately, we are already at 383ppm. This means we have to get to a zero carbon society ASAP and hope that the planet still has the ability to take more CO2 out of the atmosphere.
The planet has now moved into a really rapid phase of greenhouse gas build up, where the increase has doubled to 2.6 parts per million per year. The planet’s ability to absorb CO2 is slowing down and in some cases is producing a positive feedback of greenhouse gases. This is where additional emissions are generated naturally by the planet, from things like forest fires and thawing permafrost in Siberia releasing millions of tonnes of methane.
So we have to move fast to control and reduce our human generated emissions and its pretty obvious that persuading people to reduce their emissions by the amount required ( 80 to 90% reductions by 2030) is completely futile. So the only logical solution is to quickly introduce rationing and give everybody in the world an equal Carbon emission entitlement, which would be tradable. This is where Contraction and Convergence (C&C) comes in.
Using current information, climate scientists calculate that each person’s share of Carbon Dioxide equivalent emissions, should converge to about 1 tonne per year by 2030 and then further reduce thereafter to about 0.2 tonnes by 2100. This compares to current emissions anywhere between 5 and 20 tonnes per person in the developed world, so the reduction required is going to be massive. To hear more about C&C and the eminent people who support it.
Let’s call them DTQ’s for short. This is a system which places a limit on the amount of Carbon Dioxide (the main greenhouse gas) that the United Kingdom can release into the atmosphere each year. And it will be the forerunner to Contraction & Convergence worldwide.
The emissions (or carbon units) making up this annual limit, are divided equally and free-of-charge between all UK citizens. Under DTQ’s, everyone gets a fair & equal share of the nation’s emissions budget.
Everyone would be issued with an electronic ‘carbon card’ and a quick swipe would see carbon units surrendered whenever someone bought a travel ticket, petrol, gas ,oil or electricity. Car rental companies are beginning to take notice including http://www.peoplecarrierhire.net/ who recently launched an initiative. High energy users will need to buy more units than they initially receive and low users will have units to spare which they can sell for cash. Trading can take place on the internet, by phone or at local post offices.
Colin Challen MP, has now put the DTQ’s Bill before parliament. Full details of this bill are available under the “articles” section.
The bill has been developed in partnership with Drs Kevin Anderson and Richard Starkey of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
For everyone in the world to live in the manner that we do in the ‘Western World’, it would take 3 to 5 planets like Earth, just to provide the raw materials. Exploitation of other people and their environments throughout the world for the ‘Western Ways’ of consumption and waste is a massive problem.
To try and live at a sustainable level on Earth, we in the ‘Western World’ must reduce our average consumption of raw materials by 65% to 80%. As consumers we need to be very cautious.
So why recycle?
1.) Generally, we use less energy to recycle a product than to manufacture a new one from raw materials. This saves finite resources of raw materials, like oil to make plastic but it also reduces the carbon dioxide emissions generated during the manufacturing process.
2.) It reduces the size of the holes we need to dig to dump our rubbish in. Otherwise, we will all soon be living on a landfill site.
3.) It reduces the amount of rotting rubbish in landfill sites, which presently churns out huge amounts of methane and toxic fumes, adding to Global Warming, as well as releasing poisonous chemicals into our streams and rivers.