By Phil Beaumomnt TechIOSH
member of IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment)
I have recently added Carbon Management for businesses to my portfolio of services I provide on top of my Health and Safety Services. I published an article about the service and why carbon management was required. It then occurred to me that there are lots of you, like me, interested in doing our wee bit to help save our planet, hence this article. First, I will give you some definitions and a brief description of what is happening to our planet.
Global warming is an aspect of climate change, referring to the long-term rise of the planet's temperatures. It is caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly from human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation and farming. The main driver of current climate change is the emission of greenhouse gases, most importantly carbon dioxide and methane.
Greenhouse gases trap heat in our atmosphere. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the world has emitted over 2.2 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide. 'Energy from the Sun falls on our planet and normally gets reflected back as infrared radiation. But instead of escaping back out into space, this radiation gets absorbed by molecules of greenhouse gases, which then emit them in all directions.' This process causes more heat to be kept near Earth's surface, warming our world.
While we cannot stop global warming overnight, or even over the next several decades, we can slow the rate and limit the amount of global warming by reducing human emissions of heat-trapping gases.
Climate change refers to the increasing changes in the measures of climate over a long period of time – including precipitation, temperature, and wind patterns. More frequent and intense drought, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans can directly harm animals, destroy the places they live, and wreak havoc on people's livelihoods and communities. As climate change worsens, dangerous weather events are becoming more frequent or severe. Climate models forecast that global warming will cause climate patterns worldwide to experience significant changes. These changes will likely include major shifts in wind patterns, annual precipitation and seasonal temperatures variations.
The UK government has committed us to cut national greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100% of 1990 levels (net zero) by 2050 and agreed interim five-year 'carbon budgets' that take the country progressively towards that 100% target at the lowest possible cost. From 1 April 2019, quoted companies must report on their global energy use and large businesses must disclose their UK annual energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The government encourages all other companies to report similarly, although this remains voluntary for now.
Carbon management is the process of managing the carbon emissions. Carbon management is applicable to a wide variety of business activities, products, services and to each individual on the planet.
Becoming carbon neutral involves looking at the way you live, your home, what you eat, how you travel, work, shop. including your supply chain, in fact you must look at everything. Identifying your footprint, reducing it, and neutralising the impact of any remaining emissions are the three steps to becoming carbon-neutral.
Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon dioxide emissions with removal (often through carbon offsetting) or simply eliminating carbon dioxide emissions altogether.
Offsetting is a way of paying for others to reduce emissions or absorb CO2 to compensate for your own emissions. For example, by planting trees to suck carbon out of the atmosphere as they grow. Becoming environmentally friendly not only benefits the environment but can also save you money.
So, what can we as individuals do?
There are lots of ways we can help, the list below generally does not cost a lot of money, if you do have a few spare £ then more efficient boilers, solar panels, solar water heaters, heat transfer systems can all help reduce your impact.
1. Reduce heat loss in your home.
2. Reduce energy usage in your home.
Heat, Lights and Appliances In the average home, 35 percent of energy is used to heat spaces, 15 percent is used to heat water, and the remainder is spent on appliances.
3. Reduce the amount you use the car and think about the way you drive.
4. When choosing a new car
there are several factors to consider, which will determine how “clean” your purchase is. Petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric?
5. Fly often?
Taking one fewer long round-trip flight could shrink your personal carbon footprint significantly. Reduce the class you fly, flying Business class has a greater impact on carbon use as the carbon emissions are divided by fewer passengers.
Much of the waste that can be recycled still ends up in landfills. Here are some tips to make sure your waste ends up in the right place, in Carbon Management we use a Waste Hierarchy.
Use the correct waste receptacle, do not put non-recyclables in the recycling bin.