Cutting your carbon footprint

The How, What, Why of climate change and what we can do…

Carbon dioxide and methane

Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) and methane (CH4) are present in our atmosphere in tiny proportions (parts per million – ppm) yet they exert a hugely disproportionate influence on our climate.

Greenhouse Gases

CO2 and CH4 are major greenhouse gases – they absorb heat, radiated from the earth’s surface, as energy. They act like a blanket – without their presence the earth would freeze over, with too great a concentration it will overheat.

Global Warming

For millions of years the temperature of the earth has increased and decreased with the concentration of CO2. During the one million years leading to the industrial revolution the earth dipped in and out of ice ages as CO2 ranged between 180 and 280 ppm – producing about 3 Centigrade temperature rise and fall. Of course, this is simplified – many other factors have (lesser) influence as well.

The industrial revolution

The industrial revolution introduced the burning of fossil fuel – coal, oil, natural gas and their by-products petrol (gasoline), diesel, kerosene, LPG – all producing CO2 in huge amounts.

Human consumption of fossil fuels

In the last 60 years, human consumption of fossil fuels has increased CO2 in our atmosphere by 100ppm – 500 TIMES FASTER than at any previous time in earth’s history and much too fast for the earth to achieve a balance with this increase. We are on course to reach a 200ppm increase, to over 500ppm, by 2050 – last seen in the Miocene era when the earth was 4 to 6C warmer.
Read more

Sea temperature

Every 1C increase in sea temperature increases storm energy by 7% and increases water vapour in our atmosphere. Higher wind speeds and higher rainfall are increasing storm damage and inland flooding. Higher sea levels from melting ice caps will flood coastal area more frequently, displacing inhabitants.

The only effective way to limit these impacts is to minimise CO2 production. Future investment, that in any way increases CO2 production, should be made illegal NOW.

As individuals, if we are seriously concerned for the lives of our children and our grandchildren, there is much we can do:

  • Limit our family size – the greatest positive impact is to have one less child
  • Go car free – adopt active travel
  • Stop flying
  • Stop eating meat – especially red meat. Vegetable diets save money!
  • Grow our own vegetables. Buy locally produced food.
  • Consume less manufactured goods and processed food. Buy new less frequently.
  • Upcycle, recycle, freecycle.
  • Spread the word. Lobby. Protest.