Why does the world need to get serious about combating carbon emissions now?
With constant talks of how we can reduce our carbon emissions, it is easy to lose sight of why this is necessary. There is a legitimate concern because it is not looking good for our planet and it remaining habitable. In short, the world NEEDS to get serious about combating carbon emissions now because our actions are contributing to global warming. According to the Guardian, ‘the world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.’
How does carbon dioxide contribute to global warming?
It is important to first understand the role and characteristics of carbon dioxide in our ecosystem. Our ecosystem relies on a carbon cycle, it is a cyclic process where carbon dioxide being emitted from natural processes of life is absorbed and removed by plants and the ocean. This allows there to be a balanced amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide and does not impose harm on the environment.
However, human activities aren’t natural processes in life.
As a result, we have generated more carbon dioxide than our ecosystem can handle and the emissions are continuing to climb. Carbon dioxide, like most other greenhouse gases, absorb radiation and stores heat. With the excess amount of carbon dioxide left in our atmosphere, it has caused global temperatures to increase and other climate changes.
The imbalance of carbon dioxide has been and will be responsible for irreversible changes to the climate, taking earth one step closer to being too hot to live on.
Measuring our contribution to global warming
We use the standard unit CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) to estimate and measure how much carbon dioxide a particular activity may emit. For example, travelling a mile by bus in London emits approximately 150g of CO2e and driving a mile in an average car releases 710g of CO2e. While the measurement is useful for comparitive purposes, it can be intangible for most people.
Our (growing) contribution to global warming
As part of our modern lifestyle, the internet is an integral part of our day-to-day life. Yet most of us have no concept of how it will have contributed to global warming. We forget that it consumes a lot of electricity and therefore the emission of greenhouse gases, especially CO2!
In order to visualise how bad our internet usage is for the environment, we created a few images that converts the internet’s carbon emissions to the equivalence of how much coal we are burning.
Aiming for carbon reduction
With research showing that we only have 12 years left before it is too late, we need to focus on coming up with a solution. The most direct way to tackle this environmental issue is by reducing our carbon emissions.
There are a few ways to do so:
A lot of what we do requires energy. Rather than relying on power plants, there are alternative energy sources that is collated and generated by natural resources like sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat. There are plenty of low-carbon energy sources that are available for you to install in your own homes, we offer Heat pumps and Photovoltaic (PV) and Solar Panels to help effective and reliable power generation.
Technology when chosen and utilised correctly, can help reduce our carbon footprint. A lot of these new devices are able to monitor and maintain usage. Some of these smart technology can also be controlled with Apps to ensure energy efficiency. We have the Vitotrol App to help users integrate technology into their modern lifestyle for a low-carbon future.
Out with the old, in with the new
Finally, we can replace any outdated appliances that may emit high amounts of CO2 for ones that are better for the environment. New appliances are developed with new technology that consider energy efficiency. For example, UK domestic gas boilers generate around 17,000 tonnes of CO2e per hour on an average winter weekday, and that switching the non-condensing boilers to a new Viessmann unit would save 1,000 tonnes CO2e per hour.
If you are inspired to reduce your carbon emissions and carbon footprint, let us know what you found most shocking about this piece. Were you surprised with the findings? Join the conversation by using #TheCoalTruth on Twitter or Facebook.