ACTION SUMMIT -
Human activities are releasing nearly 10 Gegatons of Carbon (about 36 Billion tons of CO2) into the atmosphere every year, driving atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 400 parts per million
(ppm) from their original pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm. This increase in CO2 and other
greenhouse gases concentrations traps additional energy in the earth's climate system. What happens to this "extra" energy (0.5-1 watt/m2) remains a mystery to many outside the field of climate and sciences.
is becoming more acid as a result of sulfur emissions released
into the atmosphere that mixes with rain to fall upon the
oceans as dilute sulphuric acid. The increase in acidity kills
and harms other marine life.
Anthropogenic means caused by humans. The Earth’s climate
was always changing without humans in the loop, but scientists are sure that
the 'global warming' period we’re experiencing
today is caused by us creating greenhouse
and Electric Vehicles Act 2018
is UK law designed to accelerate the introduction of
refuelling points for hydrogen vehicles and recharging points
for electric vehicles.
such as solar and wind is good news. But renewable energy + batteries
gives us the ability to store energy to use it later when we need it.
See Load Levelling.
Climate Change Act
In 2008 the
United Kingdom passed a world leading law to combat climate
change. The aim was to get UK greenhouse gas emissions down to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. Things started pretty well, but policies to cut our emissions have
slipped with councils
giving planning permission for climate unfriendly housing by
the bucket load, without balancing this against sustainable
is where global warming has turned arable land into desert
wasteland. It is happening at an alarming rate because we are
using too much energy from fossil fuels.
Divestment is basically un-investing - moving money away from particular companies. In the last ten years there have been fierce campaigns to get big institutions like unis and pension funds to divest from fossil fuels. Plenty of them have made commitments to divest already, but there are still loads more.
Plug in, charge up and
whoosh for a limited range. Electric cars use electricity to drive along, rather than burning petrol in the engine. As we put more renewables on our electricity grid, electric cars will be run on cleaner and cleaner fuel. They’re great for tackling air pollution too.
Rebellion is a UK based group of climate activists who
organized protests and marches in London, including Piccadilly
Coal, oil, gas. Over millions of years, plants and animals get squashed underground and turn into fossil fuels. Humans get them out the ground and burn them for energy. But burning them sends carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,
causing global warming and acid oceans.
We need some
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to trap the sun’s rays and keep the
Earth warm. But all that fossil fuel burning means too much carbon and too much heat being trapped. So the earth gets hotter, global temperatures rise = climate change.
Thunberg is an inspiration to other protestors and a
brilliant public speaker. She helped to organize the famous Skolstrejk
for Klimatet events in Sweden, that spread all over the
Heat pumps aren’t actually magic, but they sometimes feel like it. They collect heat from the air, the ground, or water, then squash it (so it gets hotter), and use it to heat homes and buildings. And get this, they still work when the air is a bracing -15C!
We’re feeling the impacts of climate change right now all over the world. Disasters like flooding, droughts, wildfires and hurricanes are all getting worse - and will become more severe still - because of climate change.
Tackling climate change means we will need to change the way we get energy, the way we travel, what we eat… the list goes on. But we need to make sure the new world we build is a fair one, and the people currently working in the industries that are changing don’t get left behind.
Back in the 1950s, scientist Dr Charles Keeling started collecting info about the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (in Hawaii). It was going up very fast. Today, his son, Ralph Keeling, runs the lab to keep our record of CO2 going.
LED light bulbs
These super efficient light bulbs use around 1/10th of the energy
of the incandescent bulbs invented by Thomas Edison and Joseph
Swan. Using less energy means reduced climate change, and lower bills too. Check out the LED bulbs on the Empire State Building, Stamford Bridge football stadium and a whole load of Welsh castles.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.
levelling is smoothing out the peaks and troughs of energy fed
to and taken from the electricity grids.
Mitigation is any way we can tackle climate change, sometimes
linked with carbon offset. From solar to cycling, planting trees to plant-based diets, fixing stuff
(make do and mend) to flying less, to wave power. To mitigate climate change we need a whole range of tools and tactics.
Watts are units of electricity. There are kilowatts, gigawatts, megawatts... But nega-watts are the units of electricity we don’t use. It’s the electricity we’ve deliberately saved or used more efficiently. Think of lightbulbs that don’t waste electricity getting hot (and instead use all their power on lighting up your room) or closing your windows when you’ve got the heating on.
They’re beautiful, blue, and wet, but oceans play a pretty huge role in the climate story. Our oceans suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and help generate
oxygen. But they’re also particularly vulnerable to climate change - with rising sea levels and a warming climate threatening both human and ocean habitats.
The Paris Agreement
Paris - the city of love… and climate action. In 2015 the nations of world formed their plan on how to combat climate change, dubbed the Paris Agreement after the city that hosted them. The aim is to keep global warming well below 2C with an aim of 1.5C. Most of the world is behind the plan - all except one nation and their
The Queen’s palace
When she’s not waving from her carriage or delivering her Christmas speech, the Queen is busy
reducing her electricity
bill, so tackling climate change. Across the royal palaces they’ve got a smart energy monitoring system, low-energy LED light bulbs and a hydro turbine.
is a mental condition caused by the limited ranges of electric
vehicles and the long charging times, or complete absence of
an electricity outlet on the highways or in streets in towns
Sun, wind, water. Not only would these be the ingredients of a great day surfing, we can also harness them to generate clean electricity. Like fossil fuels (that’s coal, oil and gas), renewable energy can power our lives but they don’t belch out carbon. This makes them crucial to combating climate change.
Not the kitchen sink! These are the bits of our natural world that can absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere. There are loads - oceans, plants (like forests - I bet you learned about the Amazon being the lungs of the planet at school!) and even the soil under our feet. As with many bits of our planet, they’re threatened by climate change and humans getting up to no good.
The 45th US president,
Trump, once described climate change as a
Chinese hoax. Every time it’s cold he suggests we could do with a bit of
warming. He’s promoted coal and put higher taxes on
solar. He pulled America out of the Paris Agreement. As the leader of the world’s second largest emitter, Donald Trump has spelled bad news for climate action.
The UNFCCC stands for the United Nations Framework Convention on
Change. That;s a mouthful. It was set up in 1992 and
organises all the global climate negotiations - like the Paris Agreement in 2015. It’s thanks to these guys most of the countries in the world are working together to tackle climate
change, save Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
It takes a lot of carbon to produce our food, particularly meat. When it comes to low carbon dining, meat free is the way to go. In fact some studies say a vegan or veggie diet can cut your food related carbon emissions in half.
As your geography teacher told you, weather and climate aren’t the same thing, but they are linked. As the climate changes and global temperatures rise, weather will become much more erratic. Flooding, droughts and hurricanes will all be more common and more serious.
If you x-ray a bit of coral from the ocean, you can find out a lot about the Earth’s ancient climate. New techniques can tell scientists when monsoon started in a particular year, or how the ocean temperature has varied. The data can help scientists understand how our climate has worked in the past, and what is going on now humans are causing mischief.
Climate change is a huge and scary problem, but there are things you can do to tackle it. You could cut down on meat, cycle more, fly less or insulate your loft. And you can
lobby the people in power to make sure they’re supporting renewable power, improving energy efficiency, cleaning up transport and changing the stuff we can’t.
Or even organize protests, like Greta
Thunberg and Extinction
This is where we need to be heading: a world where we don’t emit greenhouse gases and climate change doesn’t become the catastrophic disaster we fear. There’s still a very long way to go, but we know what needs doing. It’s time to get to work.