Contrary to global warming deniers, the world is getting warmer and humans are playing a big part. But, just as we exacerbated the problem, we can come up with the solution. In fact, there are numerous fixes such as solar, wind and geothermal energy to name but three. Yet, China still churns out fossil fuels at a frightening rate and Delhi is shrouded in poisonous smog. Even though the people in charge and the public understand the shift, there doesn’t seem to be any hurry. So, will the world ever get to the necessary levels to combat climate change? The answer is yes, and here are the reasons why.
Hardliners Turning Soft
In the past, the governments of China, India and Russia were against slowing down energy production. Although the USA and the rest of Europe were not angels, they were at least trying to come to a compromise. Now, as the situation escalates, the hardliners are beginning to see the need to change their turn. The Paris Agreement, even without the US, is a huge potential turning point as the most powerful nations look to set an example. Sure, America might not agree, but the fact that the majority of the powerful players are on board is a positive sign.
The Sleeper Stats
It’s easy to make a sweeping statement such as fossil fuels are and always will be the leading resource of energy. And, that is true to a degree as coal still leads the way. However, signs from 2015 onwards have been encouraging. In fact, that’s an understatement because they have been music to the ears. According to the IEA, more than 50% of the world’s energy in 2015 was developed by renewables. The better news is that the stats for the end of 2017 suggest the gap to coal is closing rapidly.
Often, global warming centres on governments and countries and what they can do to change. But, the truth is that everyone on the planet has a role to play to lower their carbon footprint. Whereas that was almost impossible to do in the past, it’s far easier today. Not only has renewable equipment reduced in cost, but companies like Wunder Capital now exist to provide funding. Then, there are the common tools, such as energy-efficient light bulbs, which chip away at CO2 one Watt at a time. Finally, there is the education factor and the fact that homeowners want to make a difference. And yes – it’s already happening.
When renewable energy sources first appeared, they were less than well equipped to deal with the level of output. As a result, people lambasted them as useless and not the way forward. However, patience has proven this to be false as they have increased dramatically over time. Now, solar panels and wind turbines are as efficient as they are helpful to the planet. Because the technology will only get better, it’s logical to assume the results will go the same way.
There’s no doubt it’s a long and tough battle for the planet, but the signs look positive. And, they are due to get better.
All Steam Ahead as Europe Goes Green
Red, amber, green: and Europe is off on its big green venture. Yep, it’s true, Europe is finally on the right track in regards to future-proofing against climate change. To see just how it is doing this and what it is doing in regards to this, make sure to read on.
The abolition of fossil fuels by 2050
Some of Europe’s biggest countries are seeking to go fossil fuel free by 2050, and it’s brilliant. Denmark, a country widely regarded as being a leader in the struggle for a green future, is one such country seeking to do this. Yes, it might be ambitious. And yes, Danish officials openly admit that it is an ambitious venture. But, this old Nordic country is going full steam ahead with its ‘Energy Strategy 2050’ enterprise anyway in the hopes that within 32 years the whole country will be completely dependant on things that do not hurt our world. In fact, Denmark is even seeking to go one step further and go completely cashless. Well done, Denmark!
Cities are building green infrastructures
It appears that many European cities have seen the light in regards to what they need to do to save our planet and are now building green infrastructures to hold themselves up in the future. Yep, many cities around this famous old continent are changing the habit of a lifetime and going against a grain that has been in place for thousands upon thousands of years by swapping out their old, harmful infrastructures and ushering in new, safer ones to replace them. Bratislava, Slovakia is one such example: it has had a complete overhaul of its transport system and only runs low-emission buses, tree planting has become a serious occupation, roofs around the city have been made green and rainwater retention facilities have popped up everywhere. Yep, the Slovakian capital really has built a green infrastructure, despite a tight budget, and many other European cities are following suit.
Many big cities are clambering for green funding
Speaking of tight budgets, there seemingly is one across the whole of Europe when it comes to going green because many cities within the continent are having to clamber for funding in regards to it. But, thankfully, having to do all of this isn’t stopping these cities from doing so and going as green as they can. Yep, cities across the European continent are using a combination of EEA grants, municipal funding, crowdfunding and green bonds in order to go green: Copenhagen has done so and used its funding to upgrade is floodwater management and lighting systems to make them more eco-friendly, Paris has done so and used its funding to plant in excess of 20,000 trees and Essen, Germany has done so and used its funding to be named European Green Capital for 2017.
So, as you can see, the historic old continent of Europe is more than willing to embrace the future and, more specifically, the future needs of our planet. Let’s just hope that the rest of the world and its leaders *cough* Trump *cough* follow suit before it’s all too late.
Who Will Save The Planet: The People Or Big Business?
Are you worried about climate change and the general state of the planet? If you read our previous article on the subject, you certainly will be and if not, then perhaps it’s time you caught up. The shorthand version is that the world is slowly dying. American talk show host and political comedian, Bill Maher, recently questioned why innovators like Elon Musk are so fascinated by the idea of living on Mars. Instead, he asserted, we should be focusing on saving this planet and correcting the damage done to it. Scientists are constantly trying to warn us that we need to do more to save the planet, but who are they talking about here?
The question we want to answer today: who has the best hope of saving the world and fixing the environment? Is it big business or the individual homeowners? In other words, should we look to the ant or the grasshopper? As the old fable goes, ants may be small but in large numbers they might be capable of far more than the larger, strong Grasshopper. To answer this question we first need to look at the statistics.
The Maths Behind The Melt Down
Here’s an interesting statistic for you to mull over.One child per family, according to experts is the equivalent of 58.6 tonnes of CO2 carbon emissions annually. That’s right, just by having kids and growing your family you are causing the destruction of the world. Try not to take that too personally because actually everyone is guilty.
However, before you get too distressed about this, let’s shine a light on another stat. 100 companies in the world are causing 71 percent of the global emissions that are currently destroying the environment. Essentially, this sends the message that we shouldn’t be trying to change the minds and lifestyles of the individuals but rather the businesses that are slowly killing the planet.
Of course, it is worth considering that while that might seem like there’s just a few bad eggs we are in the age of the massive conglomerates where monopolies are common. Just this month we learned Disney was attempting to buy up Rupert Murdoch’s pride and joy while Warner Bros. continued their efforts to merge with AT&T. What does this tell us? Is it really that surprising that – in comparative terms – a few companies are causing most of the pollution. Absolutely not, but that doesn’t leave the random individual completely blameless. Indeed, it’s fair to say that most people these days own a car or two. A typical vehicle will create over 4 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Imagine how much damage you’re doing by driving alone.
The Businesses Must Act
One train of thought here then is that it is the businesses that must make changes for us to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Believe it or not, that is starting to happen, at least in some areas of the world. In Denmark for instance, the government has set high stands for companies and the level of carbon emissions they can product. Infact, there is a heavy focus here on renewable energy which actually, all businesses should be looking towards now as a solution.
As well as this, businesses are in the perfect position to introduce innovative technology and processes that could make everything more efficient. Ultimately, this could start at the manufacturing level and we can take jet engines as an example here. So, during the manufacturing of turbine engines, producers now have the possibility of using Laser Light technologies to drill tiny holes into the engine, thus allowing it to cool more effectively. With this feature, the engine uses less energy and is a lot more efficient. For that to happen though, the producer has to use that method. The company creating the planes has to buy from that producer. But, if all this does occur then ultimately it impacts various different processes in the world. Flying from New York to London is suddenly a lot more eco friendly. So, perhaps the phrase should be ‘it starts at business’ rather than it starts at home.
After all, it is the businesses that are going to have to change to ensure that the impact of climate change and other environmental factors are reversed. One could even argue that if every business began to take a hard stance on correcting the impact that their model is having on the environment the issue would be resolved overnight. But, let’s take a closer look at the individual.
Power Of The Public
There are a few reasons why ultimately it is the public that has the power to change the impact we are currently having on the environment. First, of all, there’s that ant, grasshopper fable. There are a lot more people in the world than there are businesses. If everyone changed their energy usage the issues with carbon emissions wouldn’t disappear but they would be significantly reduced.
The public also have the power of the buyer. They can decide and determine who they want to buy from. If the public started turning their backs on businesses that continued to pollute they would have no choice but to act and to change their ways.
As well as this, we have now reached the point where small gestures won’t be enough. As the world population continues to grow, it’s clear that the biggest threat to environment is not carbon emissions but people. Governments need to act swiftly and start taking appropriate measures that may seem severe like limits on the number of children that people can have. While this might seem drastic we need drastic actions now, if the report by 15000 scientists is to be believed.
Perhaps then this is a trick question. The power to save us isn’t in the hands of the people or the corporations. The power to save us is in the hands of the governments around the world. But of course, governments work, at least they should, in the best interests of the people. As such, if you want to save the planet we really only have one question. How loud can you shout to make sure your voice is heard on this issue?
Saving the Planet: Where Will We Finish in Our Race Against Climate Change?
2017 will go down as yet another year in history with landmark changes in global warming and climate change. As estimated by the 2017 Global Carbon Budget, global carbon emissions this year are on course to touch a record high level of 37 billion tonnes. Also, 2017 is set to be among three of the hottest years ever recorded, the United Nations revealed earlier this month. Further, 2017 is also slated to be the hottest year ever on record which has seen no intrusion from the El Nino effect that results in heat being released from the Pacific Ocean about once in every five years.
“These findings underline the rising risks to people, economies and the very fabric of life on Earth if we fail to get on track with the aims and ambitions of the Paris agreement,” Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa said of the situation ahead of the Bonn Climate Conference that took place earlier this month in Germany. Her sentiment is widely accepted and shared by the representatives of almost every country in the world, by environmental experts across the globe, by the media, by me and probably by you as well. However, in the blitz of repeated warnings and fresh facts nearly every week of every month, the only aspect that seems to be a regular is the lack of action on the issue especially on national and international levels, and that is concerning, considering the vigour with which promises are made by the leaders of some of the largest countries on the international stage. Thus, in the wake of fresh warnings by scientists on climate change, the developments in the recently concluded Bonn Conference do not seem as satisfactory when billed against these same warnings. Let’s have a look at each of the two.
A second warning: are you aware?
Starting July this year, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries have issued a global warning to humanity in a letter calling for a change in both attitude and action to save our planet and ourselves from our own recklessness. Titled ‘World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice’, the letter puts light on key issues that threaten our survival: shrinking freshwater resources and marine fisheries, an increase in the number of dead zones, declining proportion of forests, a decline in many vertebrate species, increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions across the world, and an increase in the human population towards unsustainable levels. The letter claims that with the current trends unchanged, many life forms will be extinct or headed towards extinction before the end of the century. However, it also credits humanity with one achievement of a decline in the presence of ozone depleting substances. The letter also lists the measures that are absolutely necessary to bring about the desired change. Some of these include restoration of forest areas, repopulating native species, reducing food waste and making dietary shifts towards plant based foods, and promoting education for women to reduce fertility rates. By the beginning of this month, the letter had received optimum attention from the media.
The movement, started by William Ripple of Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, marks the 25th anniversary of the first “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity’ that was issued by nearly 1,700 scientists. “A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated,” reads the original letter from 1992 under the sub-heading “warning”. It is a sad reminder of how little we have progressed in 25 years in our duty to make our home planet remain the home planet for the generations to come.
Bonn Climate Change Conference: Does slow and steady win the race?
In the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, world leaders pledged to ensure that their countries would do their best to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in this century. Since then, a Donald Trump led United States has backed out of the agreement, and climate experts worldwide have sounded alarms claiming that the goal is extremely difficult to achieve going by the current trajectory of the countries that are major contributors of carbon emissions.
The Bonn Conference on climate change or the COP23 in Bonn, Germany was held from November 6 to November 17 to further the negotiations between the involved parties on how the agreement is supposed to pan out 2020 onwards. Some minor yet positive developments at the conference included continued participation from the US delegation signaling their involvement despite Trump’s decisions to take a different course, the launch of the Powering Past Coal Alliance led by the UK and Canada the members of which seek to phase out existing traditional coal power in their jurisdictions, and a long awaited agreement between the parties to work on issues linking climate change and agriculture. That’s about it.
Many of the difficult decisions and issues to be tackled have been relegated to the following year. Negotiations took place on establishing a “rulebook” to govern the processes required to be able to move in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The deadline for this task is the COP next year in Poland, and a draft of the implementation guidelines was to be ready by the end of the Bonn conference. However, a lot of disagreements between countries on issues such as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) have resulted in the requirements of additional sessions to finish the draft in time.
The tussle between the developed and developing countries over the issue of climate finance arose throughout the talks and remains largely unsettled, again requiring additional sessions for a consensus to be reached among the parties. Further, leaders of island nations were left frustrated due to delays by wealthy nations in compensating these countries which are most threatened by the effects of climate change. “This means life or death for us”, said Tommy Remengesau, the president of Palau, saying that the issue “is a moral question, and it requires a moral answer.” The pace with which developments are taking place make it quite evident that we are still far away from the goals set during the Paris Accord. With the current trends, we are more likely to end up with a rise in global temperatures of 3 degrees Celsius this century, the results of which may be catastrophic. In the meantime, the warnings will keep increasing. They will keep increasing till the point at which they become regrets, a transition which it’s possible that many may not even live to see. “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home”, wrote Ripple in his letter in his bid to make anyone who comes across his piece aware of where we’re headed. Perhaps change will come only when we are made aware, albeit painfully, of what it is that we are losing, or that which we may have already lost.
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