FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
Whilst the Earth’s climate has always fluctuated and shifted over time, the firm consensus among scientists across the world is that human activity is now causing our climate to change like never before… rapidly, radically and with devastating consequences.
Industrialisation of our agriculture and industry, and heavily polluting old energy production methods, all release significant quantities of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere in volumes that the planet has never experienced before. These gases trap infrared radiation which warms up the air and warms up the earth.
Whilst our English winters over the last few years may have been cold, taking the earth as a whole, the ten warmest years of all time have all occurred in the past twelve years (MET office and University of East Anglia, 2006) and you can’t have failed to notice the increase in catastrophic extreme weather events across the world that are the hallmark of climate change.
A global increase in temperature of only a few degrees is likely to cause widespread social and environmental chaos including species extinction, crop devastation leading to rocketing food prices and millions of people left homeless through flooding. The outlook is bleak.
Financially, it doesn’t get much better. In 2006, the Stern Review calculated that the effects of climate change could wipe 5% off the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
So what do we do about it? Right now only around 8% of England’s electricity is produced by renewable sources. The government’s target is to reach 30% by the 2020, which will reduce Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions and also limit our reliance on foreign fuel imports. Britain needs to become both self-sufficient and environmentally friendly in its energy production if we are to weather the storm and help the world fight climate change.
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