What is Climate Change?
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.