There were two interesting news items on the breakfast news this morning about climate change; obviously the Live Earth concerts and also the plan to educate UK children about climate change. News items on environmental stories always interest me as an environmental consultant and even though I don’t work on the energy side these two stories did get me thinking, so I thought I would share my thoughts with you.
Educating children about global warming
I have nothing against teaching global warming in schools, in fact I think the earlier these type of issues are taught the better. However what amazes me is that it isn’t already taught. I learnt about global warming when I did A-level chemistry (aged 16-18) which was over ten years ago so assumed it was an accepted part of the curriculum now. In fact, it was my A-level chemistry course that really started my interest in environmental issues.
The Live Earth concerts
It seems to be popular to criticise Al Gore for organising these concerts. I believe this is unfair because he is doing something to raise awareness of an issue he is passionate about and is doing everything he can to reduce the carbon footprint of them, which could lead to ‘greener’ concerts in the future. I see these concerts as an investment and with all investments there is an associated risk. If people take action after today the overall carbon savings will be many times that of holding the events so they will have been a good investment, but if people just enjoy the music and don’t take action the investment won’t have been so wise. Besides there are some people who will always find a way to criticise some one with a passion.
My thoughts on global warming
The greenhouse effect is scientific fact. Energy from sun does get absorbed by molecules (such as carbon dioxide and water) in the upper atmosphere after it is radiated from the Earth and this is a good thing. If the greenhouse effect did not exist the Earth would be a similar temperature to the moon and too cold to sustain life. The debate about climate change is around whether having more molecules increases the amount of the energy absorbed, and if it does what will be the impact to the Earth.
In my opinion it does not matter whether you believe that climate changing is occurring or not. Why use something that you don’t need to? You wouldn’t spend more for an item then you need to, so why use more energy than you need because ultimately it is costing you money. There are many ways to reduce unnecessary energy use without impacting on your life but the most common response to suggestions like changing to more efficient light bulbs is why bother because it won’t make much difference. However if everyone took small actions it would add up to a big difference.
I think one of the biggest fears of admitting that climate change is occurring is that we will have to stop our current lifestyles. I don’t think this is the case. You firstly look for areas where you are using more than you need to (turning off the lights when you are not in the room), then you look for new ways of doing things such as putting in the efficient light bulbs and then you look for alternative energy sources. Each step you take moves society forward to look for new technological solutions to reduce energy emissions, but government and businesses need to know that the consumers care. Of course if you do nothing you may find there is a significant impact on your lifestyle as we experience more variable and extreme weather and ultimately run out of fossil fuels.
I personally don’t think it is worth the risk when it is so easy to start taking action to reduce carbon emissions.