Climate Change – what should you do?
By Hans Joergen Rasmussen, Founder of Saving Our Planet, 26 June 2016
The need for urgent action on Climate Change is set out on savingourplanet.net
Why do you need to do anything about Climate Change? Well, firstly, we all live on this one planet. Secondly, Climate Change is caused by the CO2 emissions created by each of us. Thirdly, the scale, complexity, and all-pervasiveness means Climate Change is the greatest challenge faced by humanity – so surely we need to learn more about it?
Simple is good, yes? To combat Climate Change comes down to just 3 issues to do with the CO2 emissions from you and everyone else on this planet:
1) To stop putting CO2 in to the atmosphere
2) To take CO2 out of the atmosphere
3) To inspire others to get involved in climate action
Which do you think is most important?
1-Stop putting CO2 in to the atmosphere
Day-by-day each of us is contributing to further unsustainable increases in the CO2 in the atmosphere. Governments now seem to have taken on board the need to reduce burning of fossil fuels. However, work to implement alternatives such as wind and solar is progressing only slowly. In the meantime, we all need to think about what we can stop. We can each look first at the easy ones: turn down the heating/use less air-conditioning, and make use of public transport instead of the car. There is much else we can each do too. We need to get to a balance point where the CO2 we put IN to the atmosphere is in balanced by the CO2 that is being taken OUT of the atmosphere.
2-Taking CO2 out of the atmosphere
Scientists and engineers have devised brilliant solutions such as Carbon Capture and Storage, for example to extract the CO2 from the exhaust gases of powerstations, and the CO2 then be stored underground. Scientists and engineers in the future will most likely have other brilliant ideas. But today, any ideas are still only at very early stages and we are years away from the processes that would be required to remove CO2 from the atmosphere on the industrial scale that would be required. In the meantime, trees provide a natural way of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, and by replanting places where forests and jungle have been removed, this provides a net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a period of years.
3-To inspire others to get involved in climate action
Our big concern is that not enough is being done about Climate Change. While each of us can make a difference, we can make a bigger difference if even more people get involved and take action too. We believe action needs to be increased and speeded up if we are to combat Climate Change.
Carbon Tax: A tax on CO2 emissions has been proposed as a way to provide financial incentive to move away from coal, gas and oil. If this is a good idea, and would stop some CO2 emissions, is there a way of putting something like this into action earlier?
4-Or something else?
Is there something else really important? If so, please let us know.
What do you think?
Which is most important?
1. In a world where so many problems are caused by others, Climate Change is different in that it is both caused by each, and affects each of us. As a way to engage people to get involved with Climate Change, would it be motivating to ask people to stop creating what CO2 they can?
2. Which is more effective? To seek to save more CO2 oneself, or to spend your time and effort to persuade others to join in too?
3. People from across the world came together to get World Leaders to reach agreement at the Paris December 2015 COP21 Climate Change talks. Today, a lot of that energy seems now to have dissipated. The next meeting is COP22 in November 2016 in Morocco. What do we need to again get people from across the world involved, and to get politicians and World Leaders to take more action and faster at this meeting?
4. Carbon Tax: What if there were a way, would people would voluntarily pay towards the cost of their CO2 emissions – similar to a Carbon Tax – where all the proceeds were used for projects which remove CO2 from the atmosphere?
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1. Climate Change left unchecked will damage human health, and the health of all living beings, with a greater impact on successive generations
2. It is not possible to do justice to the complexity and nuances of climate change in just a few paragraphs, so we acknowledge the above analysis is incredibly simplified.
3. We have not attempted here to quantify what CO2 savings might be possible, or what might be required to offset all the CO2 each of us creates. For the record, people living in the UK create on average around 12 tonnes of CO2 per person per annum, and people living in the USA around 25 tonnes.
4. In relation to the proposed Carbon Tax, yes we do know that Governments have stated they are not able to remove all existing subsidies on coal, gas and oil until around 2020.
5. Contributions by individuals will be even more effective as part of Strategic initiatives to combat Climate Change by Governments and World Leaders.
6. Paying a fee for the CO2 people create in the form of a voluntary donation and using this towards removing CO2 from the atmosphere is an initiative launched by Saving Our Planet on 25 June 2016.